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Complex incisional hernia

large or recurring hernia at a surgical scar

If you have a complex incisional hernia, HCA UK has the expertise and facilities to help


Incisional hernias are caused by a weakness in the muscle or tissue wall at a previous surgery scar when an internal part of the body pushes through. The condition is complex if the hernia is large, has reoccurred multiple times, becomes infected or is associated with a stoma hernia (opening on the tummy made during surgery) or other complications.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of a complex incisional hernia icon plus

    Incisional hernias cause no or very few symptoms. You may notice a lump (bulge) in your tummy where you’ve had previous surgery but they don’t tend to cause too much pain or discomfort. However, if you have a complex incisional hernia, you may experience a number of symptoms. They may occur multiple times, get quite large, be open or ulcerated, have an infected mesh (material used to repair hernias during surgery) or have fistulas (abnormal channels). You may experience pain or discomfort and some people feel a burning or aching sensation where it pokes through particularly when straining, lifting or exercising.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your GP or consultant will be able to identify if you have a complex incisional hernia by examining your lump and the affected area. It may be necessary to carry out an ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis. This is a simple, painless and non-invasive procedure that will help to assess how big your hernia is. The following factors may be taken into consideration before any treatment options are recommended: - The risk of strangulation (when fatty tissue or parts of the bowel get caught in the hernia) - If your symptoms are changing or the hernia is getting bigger - The effect the hernia is having on your day-to-day life - Your health in general
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    If your consultant recommends surgery, it is relatively straightforward and usually involves a general anaesthetic.Your consultant will be able to advise you on the best treatment options for your condition. Surgery options include: - Keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery. Involves two to four tiny cuts made near your naval so the hernia can be pushed back into your abdomen - Open surgery.A larger cut is made in the skin and your recovery time may be longer A special mesh which is strong and flexible is often used to strengthen the area and prevent the hernia returning. Alternatively, the muscle layers may be stitched together to make them stronger.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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