Hernia repair and soft tissue reconstruction
Excess skin and abdominal hernias often go hand-in-hand. While most of the work involved with hernia repairs goes with the deeper, muscular layers of the abdominal wall, it's also very important to have healthy soft tissue coverage over the hernia repair. Both are important for proper healing and successful outcomes.
Hernias in the lower abdomen
In general, there are two types of soft tissue or skin excess related to hernias. The first is found in patients with extra soft tissue of the lower abdomen. This can be bothersome for patients before and after surgery.
Common symptoms of hernias in the lower abdomen
- Back pain
- Difficulty with daily activities
Additionally, it can cause problems with wound healing after surgery. If indicated, we can treat this lower abdominal tissue excess by removing it at the same time as the hernia repair. This portion of the operation is known as a panniculectomy.
Large hernias from previous wounds
The other common situation arises in patients with very large hernias, or those who have had previous infections or wound healing problems, perhaps from prior hernia repairs. These patients are typically left with very thin skin, or even just scar tissue. As the hernia is repaired, the abdominal wall becomes tighter and flatter, which results in loose, extra skin or a scar. The final step of the operation is to remove this poor quality tissue and to close the incision with healthy skin.
Grafts or flaps for hernia repair
Occasionally there are special circumstances where patients may require more complex reconstructions with procedures known as grafts or flaps. These may be necessary for more difficult reconstructions, and are determined on a patient-by-patient basis. however, we are ready and capable to perform these operations as needed.
With every hernia operation, our goal at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Hernia Center is for patients to have a smooth abdominal contour with healthy overlying soft tissue.