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Every year, surgeons in the U.S. perform between 350,000 and 500,000 ventral hernia repairs.

A ventral hernia happens when tissue pushes through an opening in your abdominal muscles, creating a visible bulge or tender area. Depending on where the hernia appears and what causes it, doctors may refer to a ventral or abdominal hernia by other names. The most common types of ventral hernias can happen at the site of an earlier surgical incision (incisional hernia), near your belly button (umbilical hernia), or above your belly button (epigastric hernia).


Understanding your options

When a hernia appears, doctors sometimes recommend watchful waiting, but surgery is the only way to repair a hernia. In all repairs, surgeons reposition the abdominal muscle over the bulging tissue and, in most cases, reinforce the muscle with some type of surgical mesh to prevent the hernia from recurring.

Some ventral hernias may require a more complex repair, which is when the surgeon has to separate and restructure the abdominal wall muscle.

Surgeons can repair ventral hernias with traditional open surgery, which requires a large incision in your abdomen, or a minimally invasive approach. In traditional open surgery, the surgeon looks directly at the surgical area through the incision and repairs the hernia using hand-held tools.

There are two minimally invasive approaches: laparoscopic surgery and robotic-assisted surgery, possibly with da Vinci technology. Surgeons perform minimally invasive laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgeries through a few small incisions. To perform a laparoscopic hernia repair, surgeons use special long-handled tools while viewing magnified images from the laparoscope (camera) on a video screen.


How da Vinci works

Surgeons can perform ventral hernia repair using da Vinci technology. With da Vinci, your surgeon sits at a console next to you and operates using tiny instruments through a few small incisions.

A camera provides a high-definition, 3D magnified view inside your body. Every hand movement your surgeon makes is translated by the da Vinci system in real time to bend and rotate the instruments with precision.

It’s important to remember that Intuitive does not provide medical advice. After discussing all options with your doctor, only you and your doctor can determine whether surgery with the da Vinci system is appropriate for your situation. You should always ask your surgeon about his or her training, experience, and patient outcomes.

Why surgery with da Vinci?

Data from a nationally based registry suggest potential benefits of ventral hernia repair using da Vinci technology include:

  • Patients who underwent a complex ventral hernia repair with da Vinci stayed in the hospital for less time than patients who underwent an open procedure.
  • Patients who had a da Vinci procedure for non-complex ventral hernia repair stayed in the hospital for less time than patients who had a laparoscopic repair.
  • Patients who had a ventral hernia repair with da Vinci went to their doctor’s clinic fewer times within the first 30 days after their procedure than patients who underwent an open procedure.

All surgery involves risk. You can read more about associated risks of hernia repair here.

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