A hernia is a condition that results when an organ pushes into an opening in the tissues that serve to keep the organ in place. They are most often found in the abdomen but can also be found in other areas of the body, such as the groin and upper thigh. Some hernias are painful, while others go undetected for a period of time. Hernias do not heal or correct on their own and often require surgical intervention. Hernias can occur after bariatric surgery when the stomach wall is weakened.
An incisional hernia occurs when a surgical incision does not heal properly, allowing a sac to develop that pushes out of the incision. The sac might contain fecal matter or other types of waste products, and infection becomes a risk. In many cases, the hernia first begins to protrude from the incision site after a period of exertion, such as lifting, coughing, or otherwise straining the abdominal area. This type of hernia can grow larger if left untreated for a period of time and can also be very painful.
Internal hernias are harder to diagnose, as there is no visible evidence that something is amiss. Patients with internal hernias often experience abdominal pain. That pain can be located anywhere in the abdomen but is most often focused in the middle part of the abdominal cavity. The pain might feel like a burning sensation or a tearing or sharp pain. Left untreated, the discomfort is likely to increase as the hernia grows in size. Patients who are concerned about abdominal pain after a bariatric procedure should contact their surgeon.