UF Health plastic and reconstructive surgeons have particular expertise in helping patients with difficult hernias of the abdominal wall.
Such conditions usually occur after previous abdominal or hernia surgery. Patients seen by our surgeons have usually had several procedures done to repair the hernia. Prior to seeing us, the problem has usually recurred and frequently worsens. Pain, poorly fitting clothing, difficulty with physical activities and intestinal problems are often seen in patients with large hernias.
Plastic surgeons are uniquely positioned to take care of patients with these problems. Very often, these situations require rearrangement of muscles and tissues to put the abdominal wall back together, which is a method of reconstruction that plastic surgeons use frequently in other parts of the body. Indeed, treating large hernias is actually providing abdominal wall reconstruction. The goal is to repair the damaged tissues and restore the integrity and function of the abdominal wall. Techniques used include abdominal components separation, dermal matrix grafting, implantation of muscle flaps from the thigh and excess skin removal.
Surgery is done in the hospital under a general anesthetic. A stay of two to five days is typical and patients are usually able to return to normal, non-strenuous activities within a month. Most patients can drive in about two weeks after surgery. We ask our patients to avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activities, such as vigorous exercise and heavy house or yard work, for three months. We will see you frequently while recovery proceeds, and usually after six months, no further follow-up appointments are necessary.