A ventral hernia is a defect or opening that develops in the abdominal wall following some type of surgical incision created for prior surgery. In other cases, a ventral (abdominal) hernia occurs when extreme internal pressure or force (such as lifting extreme weight) pushes part of an internal organ through a weak point in the abdominal wall.
In most cases, a hernia begins as a bulge or a small weakened or torn area at the sight of prior surgery in the abdomen and can gradually grow in size. The hernia actually occurs when an internal organ, most commonly a piece of intestine or bowel, then bulges and protrudes through that tear or weaken opening in the abdomen. That bulge is the actual hernia.
Incisional or ventral hernias commonly occur around the navel (belly button) or the groin. Hernias may take months are years to develop, while others can occur suddenly. Understanding treatment for such hernias helps relieve pain, reduces the chance of intestinal or bowel obstruction and helps individuals engage in healthy and active lifestyles.
Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Repair Technique
The most common approach to repair hernias today is through a laparoscopic approach. A laparoscope is a small telescope-like camera inserted through a narrow, hollow tube and into a surgical incision.
This technique enables surgeons to view organ cavities through very small incisions. The camera attached to the device enables the surgeon to view the internal organs or area via a monitor such as a computer screen in the operating room.
This technique requires several very small incisions made into the abdominal wall, where surgeons are careful to avoid internal organs or previous surgical scars. The laparoscope is then inserted into the incision. Several additional (1/4 to 1/2 inch in length) incisions are made for using additional instruments to remove scar tissue and repair the tear or weak point in the abdomen through sutures or a type of surgical mesh.
The mesh, sometimes called the screen, is situated beneath the hernia defect and attached to the stronger tissues of the abdominal wall through the use of surgical tacks, staples or sutures. The procedure is generally performed under a general anesthetic, which puts the patient to sleep during the operation.
Who Benefits from Incisional/Ventral Hernia Repair?
The laparoscopic Incisional/ventral hernia repair procedure is generally performed on an outpatient basis, with individuals able to go home several hours following the surgical procedure. A ventral hernia is often diagnosed through ultrasound or CT scans and must be performed to prevent additional injury to internal organs and to reduce and alleviate severe pain caused by hernia pressure. Individuals undergoing laparoscopic hernia repair are able to return to normal activities more quickly, return to their regular eating and dietary habits faster, enjoy reduced postoperative pain, complications and limit hospital stays.
How Much Does Incisional/Ventral Hernia Repair Cost?
Laparoscopic Incisional/ventral hernia repair in the U.S. often averages about $8,000 and depending on the procedure and technique used. Additional costs for clinic fees, lab work, and imaging may be added to that cost, as well as surgeon's fees. In locations throughout Mexico, Latin America and Southeast Asia, medical travelers requiring ventral hernia repair may spend approximately $2,000 to $5,000 for a medical care package that also includes accommodations, lab work, imaging such as scans, and pre- and post-op care.
Obtaining Laparoscopic Surgeries
Laparoscopic surgeries should be performed by a experienced surgeon trained in minimally invasive surgical procedures. Laparoscopic surgeons should be familiar with a variety of procedures utilizing laparoscopic technique and equipment in his or her field of study or specialty. Surgeons who perform laparoscopic surgeries should be board-eligible or certified practicing surgeons, Residents or Fellows in accredited programs including gynecology, urology, and oncology, or are board eligible and certified practicing gynecologists, urologists, or other physicians who engage in and perform laparoscopic procedures.