When a patient needs to have surgery, they’re nor- mally pretty confident the procedure is a means to an end. What they, and some surgical teams,
don’t realize is they could be putting themselves at risk for a
serious complication – a hernia.
Dr. L. Michael Brunt, immediate past president of the
Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic
Surgeons (SAGES), said an incisional hernia is an underrated
surgical complication that can be caused by many things,
but typically is due to wear and tear of the incision. “The
repetitive stress on the abdominal wall gradually weakens
those areas that are sutured back together, plus you have the
suture material that can have a constricting type effect,” he
Patients are most at risk for developing a hernia follow-
ing an open abdominal surgery, but even patients with
smaller incisions, such as those from a minimally invasive
procedure, can develop a hernia. Usually incisional her-
nias, as they are called, occur within the first year or two
after surgery and are noticed due to bulging along the inci-
sion. Hernia repair surgeries are a common procedure and
can be done in open or minimally invasive approaches.
Brunt said surgeons should make patients aware of both
options, especially since a minimally invasive approach
could help patients recover quicker and have a smaller
incision, which could limit the potential for another hernia. “I think the techniques and approaches have evolved
somewhat, so it’s important for surgeons to stay abreast of
current techniques when they do hernias as part of their
practice,” Brunt added.
The best way to stay up-to-date is through training and
attending society meetings, he explained, noting it’s also
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