Abdominal Wall Hernia: What Is It and How to Treat It

Abdominal Wall Hernia: What Is It and How to Treat It

Publication date: 01-03-2024

Updated on: 01-03-2024

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Estimated reading time: 1 min

Abdominal hernia today is one of the most common conditions treated in all operating rooms worldwide. Specifically, the most common abdominal hernias are those in the midline of the abdomen, that is, on the linea alba.

These conditions, while frequent and widespread, demand a super-specialized approach. We delve into this issue with Professor Giampiero Campanelli, Director of the Operative Unit of General Surgery, Day & Week Surgery section of IRCCS Ospedale Galeazzi - Sant'Ambrogio, and Director of Hernia Center di Milano.

What is it and what causes it

Abdominal hernia refers to the visceral outgrowths that are usually associated with diastasis of the rectus muscles, "that is, the pulling away of the rectus muscles from their central position, which creates weakness in the abdominal wall," the specialist explains.

When there is diastasis of the abdominal wall, hernia formation with a small or large abdominal deformity is typical. Hernia can be:

  • umbilical;
  • epigastric;
  • jointly umbilical and epigastric.

This type of pathology in men and women can be due to weakness of the abdominal wall tissues, that is, a natural predisposition to diastasis of the abdominal muscles.

Abdominal hernia can appear after strain, trauma, previous surgeries in the abdominal area, and, for women, the most common cause is cesarean delivery, the so-called Floppy Abdomen post partum.

Symptoms

Abdominal hernia, besides being a purely esthetic problem, can lead to physical symptoms, such as:

  • pain and discomfort in the abdomen;
  • lower back pain;
  • heaviness;
  • sometimes dysuria (painful or bothersome urination).

How do we intervene?

Abdominal hernia surgery is tailored surgery, calibrated to the extent of the pathology and the individuality of the patient.

"Abdominal hernia surgery depends greatly on the physiology and nature of the surgical site. In the case of small hernias, for example, it is possible to intervene with small incisions under local anesthesia, however, in far more serious cases, such as parietal disasters, one must intervene with more significant actions and with the help of advanced instruments," the professor explains. 

"Hence the importance of turning to surgeons with hyperspecialization, who have devoted their academic and professional careers to scientifically and technically investigating all aspects of the abdominal wall.

Why refer to the Hernia Center

For a condition such as ventral or abdominal hernia, it is essential to go to specialized centers where:

  • all types of surgery are performed and all hernial pathologies are trated;
  • all therapeutic options (open, laparoscopic, robotic) are available. 

Today in specialized centers, such as IRCCS Ospedale Galeazzi - Sant'Ambrogio, robotic surgery allows for extensive and complex repairs with minimally invasive procedures. 

If cosmetic surgery is also needed, the 2 procedures can be performed simultaneously.

Hernia Center di Milano, within the IRCCS Ospedale Galeazzi - Sant'Ambrogio, is a highly specialized center where abdominal wall-related pathologies are evaluated at 360°," Professor Campanelli concludes. – "Pathologies are diagonsed with objective examinations and accurate interpretations of elements derived from CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasound scans, and already at the stage of diagnosis the necessity of certain serious surgical interventions is determined.
The center provides preparation for surgery, from the first visit to postoperative period, with actions aimed at minimally invasive and therapeutic accuracy.
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