A ventral hernia is a hernia (lump/protusion) that can occur anywhere on the abdomen. Groin hernias are dealt with separately – see “Inguinal/Femoral Hernia Surgery”.

A hernia can cause be present with no symptoms; or mild/severe symptoms. Pain can occur from coughing/lifting/standing. If the hernia is large bowel/omentum (fat) can enter the hernia and twist on itself – causing severe pain ( strangulation). This is an emergency and a patient must present to hospital.

The aim of hernia surgery is to find the hole in the muscle (fascia); place mesh and close the hole with sutures. Surgery can be done in an open or laparoscopic fashion.

Large hernias may require division of adhesions/bowel if stuck inside the hernia sac. This can be a long procedure.


  1. infection – this can occur within the wound and /or the mesh. Collections of fluid will occur depending on the size of there hernia. If the fluid becomes infected this may require drainage/antibiotics. Infection of the mesh (is rare) but is a disaster. It will require prolonged antibiotics and possible mesh removal (another operation)
  2. swelling – quite common after surgery which will subside with time (weeks). i usually will recommend an abdominal binder (corset) to help minimise swelling
  3. pain/discomfort/chronic pain: Pain will subside with time (days to weeks) . Pain killers will be given. of concern is a new pain or increasing pain. Dr Ahmed will need to see you to assess this.
  4. recurrrence – hernias can reoccur ( risk is 1-2 % in a 5 year period). the recurrence rate depends on the size of the hernia/location and the patient’s muscle quality.
  5. strangulation – if a hernia is not repaired; then a hernia can strangulate – causing severe pain. This is a medical emergency.


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doc Ventral/Umbilical Hernia Information Sheet30 KB