Why do we get ventral hernias?

What is a ventral hernia?

Ventral hernia or Incisional hernia as it is often called is a common surgical problem when we come across worldwide. The protrusion of the abdominal contents of the bowel or the fatty apron over the bowels called the omentum. The defect in the abdominal wall has occurred due to defective healing of an incision over the abdomen. This forms the hernia.

What causes a ventral hernia?

Most of the ventral hernias occur in the midline of the front wall of the abdomen from below the breast bone to above the pubic bone. But these hernias can occur in the sides, back, or anywhere there is incision and defective healing.

How can a surgeon prevent a ventral hernia?

The surgeon checks the patient’s nutritional status before elective surgery and, when there is time available, these deficiencies are to be fixed before the surgery, so that the healing process will smoothly take place. The Patient is also advised to take deep breathing exercises sometimes with the help of an incentive spirometer to avoid postoperative respiratory problems and improve the supply of oxygen to the tissues.

  • Constipation
  • Straining at passing stools or urine
  • Prostate gland problems in elderly males
  • Lifting heavy weights with strain, and any other activity that increases the pressure inside the abdomen.

Do ventral hernias occur despite all such efforts?

Despite all these efforts, some persons have genetically weak collagen in their bodies, and these people are more prone to develop hernias than others. There is more occurrence of ventral hernias following emergency surgeries compared to elective surgeries, as later we have enough time to take adequate precautions to prevent hernias.

The Incidence of ventral hernia

The incidence of ventral hernias is around 10 % overall. The incidence varies in various populations. Another important factor that leads to ventral hernia is postoperative wound infection. Surgical site infection leads to weakening of the tissues and poor healing. Utmost care to be taken to prevent infections like proper skin preparation, one dose of prophylactic antibiotics before the start of surgery, keeping the patient warm and prevent hypothermia during surgery and keep the blood sugar levels between 120–150 mg/dl during the immediate postoperative period. These are some of the important measures taken by the doctors to prevent infections and thereby later hernias.

Our Expert Hernia Team

With adequate understanding and education of the patients and their families, we can keep the occurrence of ventral hernias to the least levels. It is teamwork involving the surgeon, his team, the patient, and their families. Together we can.

Dr ( Major ) R S Rengan MS, DNB, DLS ( France ) HOME OF HEALING SURGICAL CENTRE. General, Laparoscopic and Gastrointestinal surgeon in Chennai, India.