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Ventral and Incisional Hernia


A hernia is a bulge formed by a part of an organ (usually the intestine or stomach) when it pushes against a weak spot in the muscle wall that encloses it. It occurs when straining exerts pressure on the weak region such as when lifting heavy objects, having a bowel movement, having a chronic cough or being obese. If the hernia appears on a previous surgical incision, it is called incisional hernia. Hernias are also common in the abdomen (ventral hernia) or belly button (umbilical hernia).

Risk Factors

The risk factors for a ventral hernia include:

  • Pregnancy.
  • Obesity.
  • History of previous hernias.
  • History of abdominal surgeries.
  • Injuries to your bowel area.
  • Family history of hernias.
  • Frequently lifting or pushing heavy objects.


  • No symptoms (asymptomatic) discovered accidentally by investigating something else.
  • A variable size bulge in the abdominal wall or over a previous abdominal operation scar with some discomfort upon exercise or weight challenge.
  • Obstructive symptoms (emergency) when sudden onset severe groin or abdominal pain with a painful lump in the area with or without nausea or vomiting. This needs emergency surgical consultation.

Tests and Diagnosis

These may include:

  • Abdominal ultrasound.
  • Abdominal CT scan.
  • Abdominal MRI scan.

Related Information

Incisional and Ventral Hernia Repair