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Anyone get a ventral hernia after debulking/TAH?

scatsm's picture
scatsm
Posts: 230
Joined: Apr 2013

I had my debulking surgery and total abdominal hysterectomy in December 2011. Since then, the tiny hernia near my belly button has gotten bigger and bigger. It is now the size of a small football...no pain, but it is continuaing to grow. My oncologist said that because of the OVCA it would be unwise to use mesh to repair it, as a recurrence of the ca would tend to infiltrate the mesh, making surgery, if that were indicated, difficult. He also said that a hernia repair without mesh wouldn't work! What to do? While it doesnt hurt, it is kinda ugly...I'm trying to figure out the next step and wonder if anyone out there has had a similar experience?

Susan

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1198
Joined: Jul 2012

I had hysterectomy 6 months ago. 4 rounds of chemo before and 3 after hysterectomy. I also had full tummy tuck 2.5 months ago. 2 weeks ago CT scan uncovered a 5 cm ventral hernia above belly button with a loop of intestine herniated into it. It's not painful and not visible from outside, but I can feel the bulge if I touch it.

For the last 2 weeks I was getting a run-around from doctors. One told me that it has to be immediately repaired because of the risk of necrosis and bowel obstruction. Another one said that it's not a hernia, it's a harmless "bulge" and does not need surgery. The third place (Shouldice Hospital) that specializes exclusively in hernias told me that they would not accept me as a patient until I loose 70 lbs. On May 1st I am meeting with the forth surgeon; if he turns me down - I am out of options and will have to "grin and bear it".

I also heard that mesh is not a good idea for OC patients because it could create more adhesions and potentially interfere with second look surgeries for recurrence or bowel obstruction. However I never heard that hernia repair without mesh would not work. Shouldice only does it without mesh and it works just fine. http://www.shouldice.com/the_shouldice_repair.htm

 

 

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 537
Joined: Jun 2012

As a retired nurse, I found this very interesting, although I thankfully don't have a hernia.  As always, thanks for the education, Alexandria.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1198
Joined: Jul 2012

Today I met with another surgeon and he turned me down too. Reasons being: he does not do "no-mesh" repair and can’t use mesh on me because of adhesions and interference with future surgeries, my weight and smoking.

Well I am fresh out of surgeons.  I bet I can patch it up myself with a bottle of Grey Goose for anesthesia and a good stapler. As crazy as it sounds I would not be the first one to attempt a DIY hernia repair. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20083789-10391704.html

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 997
Joined: Nov 2009

Dear Susan:

After my two surgeries (one for the hysterectomy and then one for staging after they found endometrial adenocarcinoma Grade 2, Stage 3a cancer), I ended up with an infection and then got a ventral hernia.  It was to the left of my belly button.  It was huge.   I was lopsided.  They did not operate to repair it because it was so large that it wasnt affecting anything so my current doctor at that time did not require surgery for it.  However, I had to sit up sideways because of it.   Also, it interfered with clothing.   I could not find pants to fit around my hernia.   I had the hernia for almost five years until I had to have surgery again approximately 5 years later.    I had asked if they could repair the hernia while they were in there.   So they said ok.  However, my gyn/onc once he got in there said the hernia was so large, that they called in the colon team of doctors to repair it.    I believe they did use mesh.   That was over three years ago.  It felt so good to have it gone!

But I waited and if I didn't need surgery again, I don't know what I would have done unless it kept getting bigger because like yours, it didn't hurt it was just annoying.  I hope this helps.

Kathy

 

scatsm's picture
scatsm
Posts: 230
Joined: Apr 2013

Kathy,

I have a feeling I will be like you....if I need another surgery then I'll do it; but I can't face the idea of another abdominal surgery so soon after the debulking...5 years sounds about right.

Susan

scatsm's picture
scatsm
Posts: 230
Joined: Apr 2013

Alexandra, I was also told that since hernia repair is an elective surgery, there are weight restrictions. Looks like I'll be wearing spanks!

Just had my 3 month ca125 and it went down this month to 5.1 after going from 4 to 6.9...whew..another 3 month reprieve. It's amazing how anxious I got for the entire week before that blood test. I wonder if it ever gets better.

 

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1198
Joined: Jul 2012

I don't think anxiety ever goes away completely, people just get used to living in the middle of a mine-field.

I am not giving up on hernia repair just yet. Yesterday I wrote an angry letter to Shouldice asking them to reconsider and playing "cancer" card. Waiting for their reply.

I have been wearing spanx-type undergarments for years and not for hernia. Just because they make me look and feel better.

poopergirl14052's picture
poopergirl14052
Posts: 1142
Joined: Nov 2010

...one in the umbilcal where I had bowel resection .  Sometimes it hurts and sticks out at times..so far so good. Still doing chemo so no surgery at this time. Stay strong..Val

 

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1198
Joined: Jul 2012

After 3 or 4 rounds of emails with Shouldice's chief of surgery they gave up and took me as a patient. I promised to lose as much weight as I can and surgery is scheduled for December 2013.

The funniest part was the surgeon's instruction not to have any chemo for 1 year after hernia repair. Like being on chemo is my favorite hobby. I promised not to. Smile

scatsm's picture
scatsm
Posts: 230
Joined: Apr 2013

Great news Alexandra!

Now you have to follow your surgeon's advice and avoid chemo at all costs (as if you wouldn't anyway)!

ktamp
Posts: 82
Joined: Dec 2011

I had a large ventral hernia before my hysterectomy from my previous two surgeries for colon cancer.  It was too big to be repaired during my hysterectomy.  I did have a hernia repair about 2 months after finishing chemo.  It was done by my gyn oncologist and he did use a cadaver mesh.  Kinda gross but he felt it was the safest option for me.  I am so glad i had it done because it was causing me pain and of course it made my stomach look lopsided and gross. 

ktamp
Posts: 82
Joined: Dec 2011

I had a large ventral hernia before my hysterectomy from my previous two surgeries for colon cancer.  It was too big to be repaired during my hysterectomy.  I did have a hernia repair about 2 months after finishing chemo.  It was done by my gyn oncologist and he did use a cadaver mesh.  Kinda gross but he felt it was the safest option for me.  I am so glad i had it done because it was causing me pain and of course it made my stomach look lopsided and gross. 

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