Hernia Repair – Open Incisional

This page will provide you with information about open incisional hernia repair. For further details, please speak to your consultant.

What is an incisional hernia?

An operation undertaken on the abdomen will always need to be closed with stitches. On some occasions, this will not heal properly and abdominal internal structures may break through this opening. This is what is known as an incisional hernia (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

An incisional hernia

Copyright © 2015 EIDO Healthcare Limited

If this happens and it is left untreated then there can be serious repercussions. One repercussion is the strangulation of this misplaced tissue, meaning that the tissue becomes trapped and the blood supply to it gets cut off.

What are the alternatives to surgery?

Without an operation hernias will not heal. Temporary solutions such as support belts, supportive clothing and not stressing the hernia can help but ultimately surgery will be needed to cure the hernia.

What will happen during the operation?

The operation can take up to an hour and a half to perform, and there are different anaesthetic options available.

The surgeon will first re-open the old scar that failed to heal properly; from here they will correct the hernia and the weak tissue by using more stitches and a surgical mesh for added support. This mesh will be attached to the muscles using stitches.

Risks and complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.


Patients may need to spend a maximum of four days in hospital, but some may return home after only one. It is important to begin walking around as much as possible in these initial few days after the surgery.

Exercise can aid the healing process, but only undertake exercise recommended by your consultant.

Your consultant will also inform you of when you can return to work.

Even with an open incisional hernia repair, hernias may return.


An incisional hernia is caused by weak abdominal wall muscles as a result of a wound from a previous surgery not fully healing. Serious complications can arise from any type of hernia, so surgical treatment is always recommended.


EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.