the comprehensive hernia care centre

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Recurrent hernia

This is a hernia that has recurred, after a previous repair of the hernia.
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Causes of hernia recurrence

Operation-related factors

Experience of the surgeon
There is a lot of evidence that hernia recurrence is lower for the dedicated, experienced hernia surgeon. Such a surgeon is able to make the right decision on:
  • the choice of surgical approach
  • the type of mesh being used
  • the type of suture used and the suturing technique.

Up to 50% of hernia recurrence is due to the presence of infection. One third of infected groin hernia will result in hernia recurrence.

Patient factors

These factors include obesity, chronic debilitating disease, immunosuppression (lowered immunity) and liver disease.

There is a higher incidence of hernia recurrence amongst smokers. This is due to not only the chronic cough causing increased mechanical stress of the hernia repair site. There is also increased levels of enzymes that interfere with wound healing.

Size of the hernia
The larger the hernia the higher the recurrence rate.
The surgical repair of a large hernia may result in a tensioned repair. This will make a recurrent hernia more likely.

More information

Repair of recurrent hernia

The repairs of these hernias are more complicated than the repair of a ‘normal/primary’ hernia.

It involves approaching the repair through an area not affected by scar tissue resulting from the previous surgery. This may be achieved through an incision directly on the front of the abdominal muscle, with the hernia being repaired from the front of the muscle layers.
Alternatively, the hernia may be better repaired from behind the muscle (within the abdominal cavity – ‘laparoscopic’ approach or keyhole surgery) or just between the muscle layer and abdominal cavity (preperitoneal/extraperitoneal approach).

If the hernia defect is large and the surrounding muscle is of poor tone, an abdominal wall reconstruction may be needed. (see: abdominal wall reconstruction).

The experience and training of the surgeon is critical in making the right decision on the choice of approach. A dedicated hernia surgeon should have the experience to offer a number of alternative approaches to the repair.

Postoperative care

These repairs are considered major surgery and will require you to stay in hospital for several days.

Please also see: Hernia – overview

Clinical Associate Professor Hairul Ahmad 


Suite 12, Waikiki Specialist Centre,
221 Willmott Drive, Waikiki

Professor Jeff Hamdorf, AM

51 Hampden Road, Nedlands

Practice Details

Suite 12, Waikiki Specialist Centre,
221 Willmott Drive, Waikiki WA 6169
(08) 9592 2298
Fax: (08) 6314 1524

51 Hampden Road, Nedlands WA 6009
(08) 6424 8596
Fax: (08) 9389 1770

or email us

Office hours

9am–4pm Monday to Friday

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