An incisional hernia is a type of hernia caused by an incompletely-healed surgical wound. Since median incisions in the abdomen are frequent for abdominal exploratory surgery, ventral incisional hernias are often also classified as ventral hernias due to their location. Not all Ventral Hernias are from incisions, as some may be caused by other trauma or congenital problems.
Clinically, incisional hernias present as a bulge or protrusion at or near the area of a surgical incision. Virtually any prior abdominal operation can develop an incisional hernia at the scar area (provided adequate healing does not occur due to infection), including large abdominal procedures such as intestinal or vascular surgery, and small incisions, such as (appendix removal or abdominal exploratory surgery). While these[which?] hernias can occur at any incision, they tend to occur more commonly along a straight line from the xiphoid process of the sternum straight down to the pubis, and are more complex in these[which?] regions. Hernias in this[which?] area have a high rate of recurrence if repaired via a simple suture technique under tension. For this reason, it is especially advised that these be repaired via a tension free repair method using a synthetic mesh.
Incisional hernias are usually caused by a weakness of the surgical wounds, which may be caused by haematoma, seroma, or infection, all of which result in decreased wound healing. They may also be caused by increased intra abdominal pressure due to a chronic cough (as in COPD), constipation, urinary obstruction (as in BPH), pregnancy, or ascites. They can also result from poor surgical technique.