Hernias occur when tissue or an organ pushes through a weak spot in an abdominal muscle and are usually repaired surgically. While the majority of hernia surgeries are successful, there is a chance that a hernia could return months or even years after hernia surgery.
When hernias reappear near or at the location of a previous repair, they are called recurrent hernias.
A recurrent hernia can happen for many reasons, such as a surgical error, the sutures holding the abdominal muscles together becoming less effective over time or a surgical wound that has not healed properly.
Additionally, recurrent hernias can be caused by various conditions, behaviors and activities that strain or weaken the abdominal muscle after the initial repair. These include:
Signs and symptoms include:
Your doctor will carefully examine your abdominal area after reviewing your medical and surgical history. You could be asked to stand and cough so the doctor can see or feel a bulge that would indicate that your hernia has returned.
If you have a recurrent hernia, your doctor may order imaging tests to help determine the hernia's location and inform a treatment strategy. These include:
Treatment options include:
Surgically repairing a recurrent hernia entails closing and reinforcing the defect in the abdominal wall, often with synthetic mesh material. The method your doctor recommends will depend on your hernia's size and location, your general health and how physically active you hope to be in the future.
The surgeons at the Brigham's Hernia Program apply the latest advancements in hernia repair into each surgery. They practice many different types of hernia surgeries, including:
To learn more about the Hernia Program's multidisciplinary approach to patient care or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 617-525-9726. Our providers see patients at the following locations:
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