Hernia Repair – Open Incisional

The following provides information on the open incisional hernia repair procedure. However, if further details are required, it is important to talk to your consultant.

What is incisional hernias?

If an operation in the abdominal region does not heal properly, it can cause a weakening of the muscle. This weakness can lead to a condition known as an incisional hernia. When an incisional hernia occurs, the contents of the abdomen can push out, through the weak area of muscle, and form a lump beneath the skin (see figure1).

Figure 1
An incisional hernia

How are incisional hernias treated?

Although an incisional hernia can be controlled by wearing padded clothing such as a truss (supportive belt), it will not go away on its own. This can present a danger as the delicate structures of the abdomen are unprotected and can become damaged. A strangulated hernia can even cut off the blood supply to these structures which can cause serious problems.

Surgery is the only way to repair a hernia and help to avoid these potential complications.

What happens during the operation?

This procedure will take place under anaesthetic – an appropriate one will be chosen for your specific situation. Expect this type of procedure to last around an hour and a half.

The surgeon will create an incision through which they can repair the hernia and strengthen the muscular wall. Often stitches are able to do this, or a synthetic mesh material may be used.

How long does it take to heal?

Most patients are able to go home in one to four days following this procedure. You will be advised to slowly increase physical activity each day following the operation and your GP or healthcare team will be able to let you know when you may return to work. This can vary from person to person depending on the extent of your operation and the nature of your work.

Exercise is thought to help speed recovery but it is important to seek advice before you start.


Weakness in the abdominal muscle can lead to an incisional hernia. To prevent serious complications arising, surgery is the recommended option.

References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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