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Incisional Hernia Incisional Hernia

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Unread 11-11-2002, 09:54 PM
Incisional Hernia

I'm not sure I'm in the right place, so if this isn't it please tell me. I am a year and a half post-op and am now looking at repair of a large incisional hernia. I thought once my other surgery was over I was on my way to being better than ever. Right away I noticed I was 'lopsided' but no doctor (I asked everybody I saw) diagnosed my hernia when it was nice and small and easy to repair. I still haven't chosen a surgeon - will see the third one at the end of this month - and I'd like to lose a little more weight before the surgery. However, I am getting quite uncomfortable (no danger really, as hernia is so large it's not life threatening) and kind of anxious to get this done. BUT, I haven't been able to find out enough information to allow me to ask the right questions. Is there anybody here who has had this problem? I'd really like to hear from somebody who has had the surgery, or even someone who is 'looking forward' to it. This was not in my plan. Geesh. But I'm ready to try anything . . .


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Unread 11-11-2002, 10:02 PM
Incisional Hernia

I had an incisional hernia at my belly button after one of my laparoscopies. I had severe pain at my belly button from December of 99 until I went to a new doc who decided to do a laparotomy for my endo, in march 2000, and then it was discovered that I had the hernia. The surgery was rough for me to recover from because I hd a 7 inch incision and removal of scar tissue and burning of of some endo. Hope I could have been more help to you, but this was my experience. Nobody DX my hernia until the surgery, even after pressing on my belly and practically jumping through the ceiling.
Unread 11-12-2002, 01:08 AM
Incisional Hernia

Hi Joselle

If you go to the top of this page and click on search and type in Hernia you will find there are a few of us currently recovering from our hernia surgery. Myself included.

Here are a few links to get you started.....

Here's a site about hernia's....

I'm 7 days post now from surgery which included my hernia repair and am just up checking in on posts and saw yours...I'm a little dopey right now but did want to let you know your not alone sweetie....I'll check back tomorrow and make sure you got the links and try to answer a few questions for you..

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Unread 11-12-2002, 10:35 AM
Incisional Hernia

s Joselle !!

The hernia search should turn up quite a few threads. Everybody seems to be different depending on the location, size, etc. Some had easy repairs and quick recoveries. Almost every one has a different experience.

My hernia surgery was Friday, Nov.8. I had a very large and complicated incisional hernia repair where my intestines, bowels, etc. or whatever were almost completely outside the abdominal wall. My hysterectomy was April 26 of this year. My surgeon was amazed at how large my hernia became in such a short time. I read where others had difficulty getting the attention they needed from their doctors. I was really lucky. I first went to my Gyn. who scheduled the CAT scan ASAP. From the CAT scan I never saw my Gyn again. Instead he scheduled me with a surgeon. Had insurance been able to do the surgery in the hospital of choice, I would have been diagnosed and operated on within 1 week !!

I think the competency of your surgeon is the number one factor. My surgeon for the hernia repair told me how it would be from our first meeting. Very little changed. He told me that it would be very complicated and that he would have his partner assist him. He told my husband after the surgery that my organs were all right under my skin. The surgeon had told me the same thing before surgery.

The surgery itself lasted 2 1/2 hours and required a 2 night hospital stay. After surgery he extended my work leave from 6 weeks to 8 weeks. My abdominal muscles were badly separated and distorted. I don't know about the order of things, but basically he put my insides back in place, sewed the abdominal muscles together, reinforced the hernia repair with mesh, and removed quite a bit of extra skin ( from the distortion ). I have a drainage bag with a little vaccuum bulb. This Wednesday he will remove the drainage bag and the bandage for the first time. I am rather anxious to see the incision. I can't believe how much better I already feel when this surgery was actually more complicated than my hysterectomy ( which was 5 hours ). This surgeon seems so sure of himself and that is what I needed. He practically beamed as he patted himself on the back after the surgery. Due to the distortion of the hernia I got an abdominoplasty (sp?) as part of the repair work.

Most people can distinguish a bump or bulge that indicates the hernia. Mine was from just below the belly button into the pubic area. I am not kidding when I say I looked distorted. I wore a girdle just to be able to walk and get up and down. The hernia rubbed the upper inner thighs.

Though I can't see anything except the bandage now, everything looks normal - even with the swelling. The only drainage is into the bag. Everything looks clean, neat, and dry.

I am already very pleased. I have had some fever and I take my pain meds regularly. But, I expect to feel the best that I have felt in years.

I wish you the best. I hope that I haven't scared you. But, I am serious about how gross and misshapen mine was. My surgeon is WONDERFUL.

Unread 11-12-2002, 12:57 PM
Keep 'em coming

Thanks so much for your replies. I will check out the links and do a search myself.

I am distorted as well and really trying to choose a good surgeon. There is so little information available to me that I hardly know what questions to ask.

My hernia started to the left of my belly button and now encompasses it as well as spreads far enough that I have pain in my side and back and of course in a good share of my abdomen. I'm curious about the mesh. Can you feel it after the surgery? Does it feel tight? How long is it until you can resume normal activity? I have been told that my hernia is complicated as well. One doctor told me they would have to open up almost my entire 9 inch scar from the TAH/BSO to make sure it's OK all the way down.

I have to wear a binder to be able to tolerate standing or walking at all and the hernia has enlarged recently so that the binder doesn't provide support over the whole area. I got a binder that is like a corset.

Would like to hear your stories and don't worry about scaring me. I want to be prepared and I realize that we are all different.

Thanks again for your replies. Hope all are healing well.

Unread 11-12-2002, 03:33 PM
Incisional Hernia

Hi Joselle !!

Our situations sound so similar. Mine didn't go up to the belly button, but it had become so large that I looked like Mama Kangaroo .

Maybe it is too early to tell, but I can't tell that the mesh is there. Of course I am wrapped so tightly in bandages that maybe I will know more on Wednesday. Like you the surgeon planned to go in through the TAH incision, and I assume that he did.

I know what you mean by distorted. Whenever someone asked what kind of surgery I was having, they usually assumed hernia surgery is a breeze. But, as you know there are several types of hernias and some surgeries are unfortunately more complicated.

As far as activity restrictions - he originally said 6 weeks. After surgery he said 8 weeks with nothing over 5 pounds. Has your hernia interferred with your voice? I know that sounds odd. But, mine would make me lose my voice if I was speaking as I stood up or moved suddenly. I have noticed the improvement since surgery. I plan to ask about that on Wednesday as well.

I do feel for you. Mine felt like an extra baggage of heavy hard rocks as I walked, stood or sat down. I can't explain how wonderful it feels just 4 days after surgery. I feel so much freer without my "little kangaroo".

My Gyn. selected my surgeon. I had no idea that there would be muscles to tighten or sew and skin to remove. That would probably be one of my questions in hindsight. Because once the muscles and skin have been so distorted, I don't see how a good repair could be done without correcting those problems as well. You might also ask if he will have assistance during the surgery and who will be on call afterwards. I also suggest taking a good personal advocate to the hospital with you. My hospital experiences leave MUCH room for improvement.

Please keep us informed of your progress. I will let you know more after my appointment on Wednesday.

Take care.

Unread 11-12-2002, 03:50 PM
Been there, done that . . . .

Hi Joselle,

I am so sorry you are facing this situation. I am almost three weeks post-op from hyst AND large incisional hernia repair. I had two c-sections and after the second one, did not take care of myself at all, which caused the hernia.

I had two surgeons working on me, gyne for the hyst and gen surg for the hernia. The hernia was so large by the time it was repaired (it was diagnosed 9 months before hyst) that the surgeon used what is called a 'tension free' repair. He put a piece of mesh under the facia (sp?) to reduce the chance that it would recur. He was also not able to repair it through the c-sec/hyst incision, so I have an extra incision going down towards the centre from the left side of hyst incision.

So - lesson I learned: BE A GOOD PRINCESS!!

I would recommend that you get as much information about how the hernia is repaired - I learned a lot from my surgeon - he was awsome.

Don't know if this helps you, but I will keep you in my prayers.

Love, Susan
Unread 11-12-2002, 05:50 PM
Incisional Hernia


Susan makes an EXCELLENT point about being a GOOD PRINCESS. Hindsight is better every time.

Due to an unavoidable series of family tragedies ( death, hospitalizations, etc. ) and being the primary caregiver for my mother and 3 y.o. grand daughter, I was loading and unloading a portable wheelchair in and out of my trunk at about 2 weeks post hyst. ( 5 hours of surgery ). Mother had to get to legal, financial, and medical appointments. As usual I put myself last.

I am quite sure that I contributed to the hernia development. Even now I have had my grand daughter for the past 2 nights - my surgery was just Friday. But, I will not lift or over do anything this time. If mother chooses to not eat and stay in her apartment, I will deal with the consequences later. My grand daughter will be fine in her jammies and unbrushed hair. She can also live on delivery food for a few weeks.

Women tend to put everyone else first. Though easier said than done, surgery requires that we allow ourselves to heal properly. Though we constantly remind each other to rest, drink liquids, take our meds and follow the instructions, it can not be said too often. It is too bad that we can't be surrounded physically by our hystersisters as we heal. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by people who need us to be 100% and ready to jump back into the daily demands of family.

Oh well, enough of the lecture. But, I have learned my lesson. Even when I return to work, I will not do anything my doctor would object to.

Take care.

Unread 11-12-2002, 06:55 PM
Incisional Hernia

Can anyone tell me what their symptoms were?- other than distortion. I go for a CAT scan tomorrow and I'm really curious as to what they might find.
Unread 11-12-2002, 07:17 PM
Incisional Hernia


In the beginning I felt pulling and tugging when I changed positions - as though my abdomen didn't want to go with me. I would also lose my voice if talking while standing up or sitting down ( I know that is a weird one ). Eventually I felt the swelling and the extra weight of my intestines outside the wall. At that point I knew something just had to be wrong. My BMs were also the classic ribbon shape ( when I could actually have BMs ). I never did have a defined lump or area that was different. I just had horrible overall swelling.

Best wishes with your CAT scan. Keep us posted on the results.


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