Incisional hernias happen when part of the abdominal wall pushes through the surgical site, causing discomfort or pain. Incisional hernias are one of the most common complications after abdominal surgery.



Most incisional hernias occur in the first 2 years after abdominal surgery, but some might develop many years after surgery.

You are more likely to get an incisional hernia if you:

  • Have an infection
  • Are obese (overweight)
  • Smoke
  • Have diabetes
  • Cough
  • Vomit (throw up)
  • Do heavy physical exercise (for example lifting heavy objects)
  • Strain while having a bowel movement (pooping)


What you can do

There a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of incisional hernia. You can maintain a healthy diet, reduce smoking, and monitor the surgical site. You can also reduce heavy lifting or unnecessary abdominal strain. Talk to your doctor, nurse practitioner and/or primary care team if you notice any changes around your incision site.


More information


Last reviewed: 1/4/2018
Last modified: 1/28/2019 4:51 AM
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