Epigastric Hernia Repair

What is an Epigastric hernia?

An Epigastric hernia is caused by fat pushing through a weakness in the wall of the abdomen between the umbilicus (belly button) and sternum which forms a lump. One of the most common symptoms of an Epigastric hernia repair is the pain caused by the fat being pinched by the abdominal wall.

If an operation is necessary there will be pre-admission assessments completed to make sure you are fit for surgery, allowing time for the necessary pre-operative tests, which may include blood tests, cardiogram (ECG) and a chest x-ray.

The surgical repair is carried out under general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic. This choice is dependent on your own personal preference and what the anaesthetist and surgeon think is best.

The incision is usually made in the abdominal wall overlaying the site of the hernia. The initial part of the surgery is to deal with the pouch (hernia sac) and its contents being returned into the abdomen. The second stage is to repair the weakness in the abdominal wall. This process is done through either permanent stitches or a patch of nylon mesh that is stitched in place. The wound is then closed using an invisible dissolvable stitch and covered with a waterproof dressing.

What are the risks/complications of surgery?

  • Wound haematoma-this is when bleeding happens under the skin potentially producing a firm swelling like a bruise. This bleeding may dissipate gradually or leak out through the wound. If, however, the fluid builds up too much this may result in having to re-operate to deal with the problem.
  • Wound Infection- minor wound infections do not need any specific treatment. Antibiotics are given during the operation to minimise the risk of deep-seated infection.
  • Recurrence - fortunately recurrence after hernia surgery is rare (its between 1-5% of cases) 

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