A hernia is the abnormal bulging of an internal organ (usually the intestine) through a tear or weakness in the abdominal wall. Many people suffer no pain or symptoms from hernias. However, hernias become potentially serious if the intestine becomes trapped in the balloon-like sac formed by the bulging area. The surgeons at Estrella Surgical Group have specialized training in both open (traditional) and minimally invasive (laparoscopic) hernia repair techniques.

Ventral and Incisional Hernia

A ventral hernia happens when a loop of intestine or abdominal tissue pushes through a weak spot in the muscle layer of the abdomen. This type of hernia often occurs at the site of a prior surgical incision (also called an incisional hernia). The only effective treatment for this problem is surgery.


In some cases, a ventral hernia causes no discomfort, and the only indication of the hernia is a bulge under the skin. Some symptoms include:

  • A bulge or lump in the abdomen, which grows in size over time
  • In some cases, the lump may disappear when you lie down, and then reappear when you strain your abdomen by lifting or pushing something heavy.

When tissue inside the hernia becomes stuck or trapped in the bulging abdominal muscle, it can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition known as "strangulation," which requires emergency surgery. Symptoms of hernia strangulation include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Profuse sweating
  • Severe nausea, vomiting and high fever

Seek medical treatment immediately if you experience any symptoms of a strangulated hernia.


To diagnose a ventral hernia, the doctor conducts a physical examination of your abdomen. Your doctor will ask you questions about hernia symptoms. During the exam, he or she will examine the area where a ventral hernia may exist. You may be asked to stand and cough so the doctor can feel the hernia. A CT scan may be performed.


Ventral hernias must be repaired by surgery. Left untreated, most hernias will increase in size. Estrella Surgical Group offers both open and minimally invasive hernia repair options. We will carefully evaluate your hernia before recommending a type of surgery.

"Open" hernia repair: The surgeon makes an incision in the patient's abdomen, and pushes the bulging tissue or organ back into place. He or she then repairs and reinforces the muscle wall with a synthetic mesh or screen to provide additional support.

Laparoscopy: During a laparoscopic ventral hernia repair, the hernia is repaired through several small incisions. Usually synthetic mesh is used to repair the hernia defect. The time required for full recovery varies greatly depending on the size of the hernia.