What is an incisional hernia?

An incision hernia is a bulge of tissue that forms on a healing surgical scar. Approximately 33% of people who go through abdominal surgery have a risk of experiencing an incisional hernia. An incisional hernia occurs close to a surgical incision through which tissues or organs stick out.


An incisional hernia occurs when the surgical cut in your stomach wall does not heal properly. It can allow your abdominal muscles to weaken, leading to organs and tissues forming a hernia. A lot of things can hamper the healing of the surgical cut, including:

  • Gaining considerable weight
  • Getting pregnant or increasing abdominal pressure before the cut is fully healed
  • Excessive or premature physical activities after surgery

Sometimes there is no proper or clear reason why a surgical incision does not properly heal. Hernias are more likely to occur after surgeries requiring large incisions or emergency surgery. If the incision edges are not properly lined up after surgery, it may hamper the healing process. The technique of sewing to close the incision also plays a part, says the best hernia doctor in Kolkata.


It is detectable mainly when you stand up, cough, strain your muscles or lift something. Besides a bulge near the incision site, incisional hernias might also cause:

  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Palpitation
  • Thin, narrow stool
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Diarrhoea
  • Burning or aching near the hernia

People are most likely to get incisional hernia between three to six months after surgery.

Can an incisional hernia cause any complications?

Incisional hernias can cause severe complications like strangulation or bowel obstruction. A strangulated hernia can cause tissue death in the intestine, life-threatening if you don’t get treatment immediately. Small untreated hernias get larger over time. If it gets too large, it can create pain and swelling in your stomach and eventually become indestructible.


The doctor decides treatment for an incisional hernia. It depends on multiple factors such as the extent and location of the hernia, desired level of future activity, general health of the patient, etc. The treatment also depends on whether the hernia affected the results of the original surgery, requiring additional procedures before closing the hernia. There are two types of surgery done for incisional hernia:

Open hernia repair

It is also known as herniorrhaphy. The surgeon makes a cut in the stomach above the hernia, pushing the protruding intestine back into the stomach and repairing the opening of the muscle wall.


The doctor makes a few small cuts in your abdomen in laparoscopic surgery instead of one large one. Air is inflated in your abdomen so that your surgeon can see your organs and a surgical tool with a tiny camera called a laparoscope is inserted through an incision. Tools to repair the hernia are inserted through the other cuts. Laparoscopy is less invasive and if you are at a lower risk of infection, you may leave the hospital sooner, says the best hernia specialist in Kolkata.

If a hernia, irrespective of its size, is causing significant discomfort or pain or causing any negative effect on the quality of your life, you can consult the best hernia surgeon in Kolkata, Dr. Purnendu Bhowmik.