Specialist surgery

Complex hernia surgery

Each year, more than 70,000 people in the UK find a small lump in their abdomen. They are probably relieved to be told they have a hernia, and that it can be easily repaired by surgery.

Complex abdominal hernias are more difficult to treat; Mr Charles Imber has years of experience operating on the most complicated cases and offers laparoscopic surgical repair combined with plastic surgery for the best medical and aesthetic results.

What is a hernia?

A lump that signifies a hernia can be felt through the skin of the abdomen. It can be near to the groin, around the belly button, or just below the ribs or down under the belly button. In most cases, it goes back in when pushed gently.

This lump is due to a weakness in the muscles under the skin that form the body wall. The muscles part and this allows some of the intestines to start to poke through towards the skin.

Treating complex hernia

It is easy to put off going to see a doctor but hernias can and do get bigger if left untreated. There is also the risk that the piece of intestine poking through can get trapped, have its blood supply restricted, and then start to die. This is a strangulated hernia, or strangulated bowel. It’s a medical emergency that needs urgent treatment to avoid peritonitis, an infection that spreads throughout the inside of the abdomen.

Most hernia repairs are straightforward and can be done using open hernia surgery or with laparoscopic hernia repair. In a small proportion of cases, there can be complications:

  • 1Recurrent hernias: these return after routine surgical repair. Subsequent hernia to repair the hernia again is more difficult and needs specialist experience
  • 2Complicated incisional hernias: scar tissue and weakness in the abdominal wall due to previous abdominal surgery such as a caesarean section or an appendix removal provide a challenge. Repair and plastic surgery to remove and replace scar tissue can often be necessary