Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Laparoscopic incisional hernia repair

3-minute read

This page will give you information about a laparoscopic incisional hernia repair. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.

What is an incisional hernia?

Any operation on your abdomen needs a cut that is closed with stitches. Sometimes your wound does not heal properly, resulting in the contents of your abdomen pushing through. This produces a lump called a hernia.

A hernia can be dangerous because your intestines or other structures within your abdomen can get trapped and have their blood supply cut off (strangulated hernia).

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should no longer have the hernia. Surgery should prevent serious complications.

Illustration showing a laparoscopic incisional hernia repair.
A laparoscopic incisional hernia repair.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

You can sometimes control the hernia with supportive clothing or simply leave it alone. It will not get better without surgery.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes 1 to 2 hours.

Your surgeon will make several small cuts on your abdomen. They will insert surgical instruments, along with a telescope, inside your abdomen and perform the operation.

Your surgeon will free up the structures from your abdomen that are stuck in the hernia, and insert a synthetic mesh to cover the weak spot.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • pain
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • bleeding
  • unsightly scarring
  • blood clots

Specific complications

  • damage to structures such as your bowel, bladder or blood vessels
  • developing a hernia
  • injury to your bowel
  • surgical emphysema
  • developing a collection of blood or fluid
  • difficulty passing urine
  • injury to structures that come from your abdomen and are within the hernia

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home after 1 to 2 days.

Increase how much you walk around over the first few days. You may need to take painkillers to help you. Your doctor will tell you when you can return to work. Your doctor may tell you not to do any manual work for a while. Do not lift anything heavy for at least 6 weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

The hernia can come back.

Summary

An incisional hernia is a weakness in your abdominal wall, which happens when previous wounds do not heal properly. If left untreated, an incisional hernia can cause serious complications.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Last reviewed: September 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Hernias - Better Health Channel

Both reducible and non-reducible hernias need to be surgically repaired - this is a common operation.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Hernia

A hernia is the protrusion of organs, such as intestines, through a weakened section of the abdominal wall.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Hernia information | myVMC

Hernias occur when an organ or structure passes through an abnormal opening and ends up in the wrong place. Abdominal hernias are the most common type.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Laparoscopy - keyhole surgery


Laparoscopy is a procedure that can be used to investigate and treat a variety of conditions. It involves using a telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope to view the inside of the abdomen and/or pelvis.

Read more on myDr website

Radical Perineal Prostatectomy (RPP) | myVMC

A radical perineal prostatectomy is a surgical procedure to completely remove the prostate from a small incision in the perineum. Surgical removal of the prostate is carried out on men with organ-confined prostate cancer.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Hernia - Inguinal | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

An inguinal hernia is the bulging of a portion of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening in the abdominal wall

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Endoscopy - myDr.com.au

Endoscopy is a medical procedure where a doctor uses a thin flexible lighted tube inserted into the body to look for and diagnose disease.

Read more on myDr website

Laparoscopy - Better Health Channel

The advantage of laparoscopy is that only a small incision is required, which is why it is also known as 'keyhole surgery'.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo