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A to Z: Hernia, Incisional

An incisional (in-SIZH-un-ul) hernia is a hernia that happens when part of the intestines bulge through the abdominal wall around a surgical incision.

More to Know

A hernia is an opening or weakness in the wall of a muscle, tissue, or membrane that normally holds an organ in place. If the opening or weakness is large enough, a portion of the organ may protrude through the opening.

With an incisional hernia, surgery actually weakens the muscle tissue in the abdomen, creating a defect that allows part of the intestines to protrude.

Incisional hernias form when a surgical incision in part of the abdomen fails to heal properly and close all the way. Incisional hernias can form a lump that may get bigger when someone is coughing or straining. They also can be painful, become large, and lead to serious complications if not treated. Treatment for an incisional hernia involves surgery to repair the defect.

Keep in Mind

Even small incisional hernias can lead to serious medical issues, so they should be repaired soon after they're diagnosed. Incisional hernias may come back following surgery, but advances in surgical techniques are making this less and less likely to happen.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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