What is the cause of a ventral hernia?

            The human body system is indeed a marvel. All of the body organs and supporting structures placed in the body are in a manner that even when humans move or perform activities, these remain intact and perform their function. It is important to get checked if there is anything that seems wrong in the body. This can help to detect problems in an early manner and to get medicine when needed. In this article, we will learn about ventral hernia.

            Ventral hernia is a condition where there is protrusion of intestine or other tissue through the abdominal well that is weak or with a gap. Ventral hernia is also known as abdominal hernia. The cause of ventral hernia can be from surgery and birth defects. Previous surgery such as incisional hernia is the most common cause. Trauma and repetitive stress on the naturally weak points of the abdominal wall can lead to ventral hernia. Obesity is said to be the predispose factor for ventral hernia as it stretches the abdominal wall and causes it to weaken. Repetitive weight gain and loss can also lead to weakening of the abdominal wall.

            Ventral hernia may be confused with hiatal hernia. It is characterised by the upper part of the stomach or other internal organ moving up into the chest through the small opening of the diaphragm. There are no clear causes identified to cause hiatus hernia but it has been stipulated due to the weakening of the diaphragm as a person ages or elevated pressure inside the abdomen. Such pressure is a result of obesity, pregnancy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic constipation. Hiatus hernia may occur as a congenital problem which means the problem has already existed when a person is still a baby as a result of underdevelopment of diaphragm or stomach. Hiatal hernia often goes unnoticed and accidentally found when a patient complains of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

            Patients with ventral hernia often complain of pain to the abdomen and feel fullness at the site affected. Other symptoms include constipation, nausea, vomiting and fever. Vernia hernia can progress into incarcerated or strangulated hernia. Incarcerated hernia is tissue that has protruded and unable to return to normal position. An incarcerated hernia can become strangulated which means blood flow to the tissue is cut off.

            Doctors usually suspect ventral hernia based on physical examination when there is presence of the protruded content of the abdomen wall. Imaging tests such as ultrasound and CT-scan or MRI can help to evaluate the hernia defect. Imaging test also help the surgeon to plan for surgery. Blood test is usually performed to look for infection sources that could lead to incarcerated or strangulated hernia.

            Treatment for hernia is mainly surgery. The type of surgery that will be performed depends on how severe the hernia is. Surgery can be in the form of open hernia repair and laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is the most preferred one as it uses small incisions. This minimises risk of infection, less pain for patients and faster recovery time. Immediate surgery is a must for strangulated and incarcerated hernia. Open hernia repair can be in the form of herniorrhaphy and/or hernioplasty. Herniorrhaphy is the procedure of making an incision to access the hernia and return the organs or tissue to its original place. Hernioplasty is the procedure of placing mesh to aid with hernia repair.  Time for surgery is not necessarily right away as it is often scheduled unless in an emergency case such as strangulated and incarcerated hernia. Those who are not suitable for surgery may be offered with non-surgical treatment of wearing special apparatus such as using corset, truss or binder to hold the hernia in.

            Ventral hernia cannot heal on its own. When left untreated, the hernia can grow larger. Most cases of ventral hernia are not serious but it can be dangerous when left unattended by healthcare professionals. Doctors often offered treatment such as surgery to fix the hernia before it became something serious. Patients can have different outcomes after ventral hernia repair. Most hernia repairs that are simple, do have quick recovery. In a complicated hernia that needs complex operation, it may take a long time to recover. The repaired hernia should be taken care of by ensuring the site of surgery is clean and to avoid activities that can cause straining such as heavy lifting.

            It can be concluded that ventral hernia is the protruding tissue through the abdominal wall due to gap or weakness. Common symptoms are pain to the site of the hernia with symptoms such as constipation, nausea and fever. It is usually not serious but may p Most progress into a serious case of strangulated or incarcerated hernia. Treatment mainly is surgery. Laparoscopy is often preferred as it is simple and causes less suffering for the patient. Open hernia repair is an alternative when laparoscopy is not feasible.

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