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hernia following liver resection anyone?

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008


Have any of you out there had an abdominal hernia or hernia of any type following surgery? The only surgery I've had was a liver resection two years ago. It's just been in the past two months, however, that I feel a weird twinge in my abdomen right under my liver surgery scar. The only time I feel this twinge is when bearing down to go to the bathroom & I have to kind of put my hand on the spot in my abdomen and hold it. It doesn't really hurt, but feels weird. I forgot to mention it to my onc when I saw him last week. I hestitate to mention it because it's not a major thing & as far as I know, the only way to get rid of a hernia is to have surgery for it. I don't want to bother going under the knife and experiencing the aftereffects of anethesia for something so minor. Any thoughts, anyone? Nothing was mentioned about a hernia on my CT, but I don't know if it would even show up on that, especially when I never mentioned it, so no one was looking for that.


Trapbear's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Sep 2009

HI Lisa,
My hubby had a hernia after his hemicolectomy. He had it repaired this winter (18 mos after finishing chemo) and it is all fine. Unfortunately he is back on chemo now for lung mets.
They can do hernia repair laproscopically so time in hospital is very minimal. It was very painful for a few weeks after surgery though....
Take care,

robinvan's picture
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Hi Lisa,

I had a large incisional hernia after my liver surgery. It was in the center of my abdomen just above the "belly button". My surgeon watched it for several years, waiting until I was more-or-less stable on the cancer front. Because my hernia was so large I was at very low risk for a "strangulated bowel". My surgeon repaired it using open surgery last June.

You should have it looked at. It doesn't have to be your onc. How about a follow-up appointment with the original surgeon. Or your GP. Often they can determine the size of the "defect" with an ultra-sound.

Be well... Rob; in Vancouver

abrub's picture
Posts: 2153
Joined: Mar 2010

from my colon resection - a small one (marble-sized) above the navel, and a larger one (ping-pong ball) below. I was advised to be sure they were supported during activity, but that there was no hurry for repair. If you need to hold it while bearing down, you should mention it to your drs.

However, I was also told that I would eventually need repair, and am having the surgery on June 21. I'm two years post-chemo; the larger hernia was found on my CT scan in November, 2008. Ask to have someone review your CT for a hernia. I'm having an open repair done my my onc surgeon, who will use the "opening" to look around my belly again.

Incisional hernias are very common after abdominal surgery - I have lots of friends who've had them. I understand that recovery is lengthy - I'm told my activities are highly restricted for the first 8 weeks, then somewhat restricted for another month. It won't be fun, but we're hoping that this is my last adventure with scalpels.

Note: mine is being done inpatient, as I'm having an exploratory scoping and a scar revision, plus MSK likes to keep you in. I know of people who have had them repaired in same-day surgery.

geotina's picture
Posts: 2122
Joined: Oct 2009

George didn't have a liver resection but he does have a large hernia from the colon resection. Gives him no trouble so we leave it alone at this point in time. Yuk.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Gives one food for thought, Lisa.

I guess I don't know the answer for my situation. My rectal resection was pretty brutal and I still notice when I'm laying down or sitting back and try to bring myself back up, that I get a huge knot that you can noticeably feel - I rub and massage it back down and the pain subsides, but it's a good one when it happens - it spasms.

I think I wrote it off to scar tissue and adhesions, but after reading this post, I wonder. It used to be a lot worse and would happen frequently.

When they popped my liver and did my lung, I know my whole right side is just a mess, but again thought it was scar tissue. No mention of it on the CTs, so perhaps next time I'm in, I will ask about this.

Nothing to make me want to do surgery, I can live with it. And I've got to suck this next DaVinci down before I would do anything else. I really worry about the "after effects" of this surgery.

Always interested to find out what you know when you know it:)


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I have a hernia in my abdominal cavity. I had many stitches/staples from my primary operation. I went and was lifting some rather large flat slates for a walkway and should not have been doing that. I wasn't wearing a belt or support ting either. I have since gotten a back belt and a support thing and try to not lift things that are too heavy. I have not looked at all into fixing it. I've got a protruding gut now. Some blubber in there too. I went from 6-pack abs to a beer belly just like that!

I would raise it up with your Onc but I would not bother to fix it now, wait until you're all done with cancer and are doing the centerfold pose!
wishing you well...

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Yeah, right, Phil- centerfold pose- hah! I guess I won't worry about it, but I'll mention it to my dr. before my next scan so they can check for it.

Thanks for your replies, everyone!

Have a good week!

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Yep that was my last surgery, in Feb 2010. Went in, had it fixed and out the same day. Recovery time 4 weeks. The Doctor that did my colon resection did the hernia surgery, he said it was alot bigger then he first thought and was glad I came in before it got bigger.......

chicoturner's picture
Posts: 285
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Lisa, Yes I got a hernia after colon resection surgery. My onc had me show it to the surgeon, but preferred I did not have surgery unless I had to. The surgeon said he would leave it alone, but if I did get intense pain the go directly to the ER as it would need addressed! It does show up in my C-Scans and they comment on it every time! I'd let my dr. know about it at a minimum!! Best to you! Jean

vhtqm1's picture
Posts: 107
Joined: Feb 2010

i was quite surprised you forgot to tell your oncologist. i've followed many of your post's and your always so thorough. there's always something, isn't there?? anyway, i would get this checked out right away. what if it's not a hernia? then what is it? most of your major organs are on that side of the body so i'd consider this very important. also, could be something intestinal?


Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Your body is getting back to normal and your muscles are also getting back in line, so it could just be that, a hernia normally protrudes in your tummy, like if a baby had it's foot against you belly and pressing on it. Mine was above my navel and it looked like I had a big outie! But I do get this pain on my right side right where my small intestine used to meet up ascending colon, but now my ascending colon is up by my rib cage, and it hurts when bearing down. I asked the surgeon about it and it said don't know what it would be, but my husband said it was muscle.......so that must be it. He was a medic!

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2011

Hi Lisa - I just discovered a large hernia (as of May 2011) where my surgical scar is from my liver resection of July 2010. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in May 2007 and had partial colon resection followed by chemo with no evidence of disease again until May of 2010. At that time, the colon cancer re-appeared in my liver. My surgery was done at Sloan Kettering last year. While they successfully removed 40% of my liver and I am currently again without evidence of disease, the surgical team botched the wound healing and I had to have dressings and wound pump for 4 months until the surgical wound closed last fall. The hernia suddenly appeared as two large bulges at the liver surgery scar area. I went to see my original colon surgeon, as the oncologists tend to be just poison dispensers and relatively clueless about this. He recommended surgery (laproscopic, plus some open surgery to remove the bulge cosmetically) ASAP to get rid of the hernia. Without this, it can cause other serious complications over time and can continue to grow.

I am now hearing that abdominal hernia are more common than medical profession likes to disclose from liver and abdominal surgery including in poor surgical closings to prevent incompletely healed wounds, thus allowing bowel or organ to break through the weakened abdominal muscle wall. I recommend that you see a surgeon (perhaps not same one who did original surgery, if there is cause to believe his surgical work led to the hernia) and get consultation on treatment options. I am being told that I will have 2 - 3 days in hospital in my case and 2 weeks healing as estimate.

Good luck with yours, and I welcome hearing how other cancer survivors like us are doing with hernias following abdominal surgery.

My best - Bob

westie66's picture
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Lisa and all: I too have an incisional hernia following open gallbladder surgery (to remove a tumour) last April. It started 2 months after the surgery. The surgeon won't do any surgery to repair it until I'm through chemo. If it is a big hernia (mine is 10 cm), then there isn't much danger of strangulation. It doesn't hurt but is uncomfortable. My surgeon gave me a prescription for an abdominal band - about 10 inches wide, elastic, that I wear all day to "keep everything in". I asked the surgeon that if these hernias occur so frequently after gallbladder and other abdominal surgery why didn't they put in the mesh right away. A good question I thought (as most of my friends who have had abdominal surgery ended up with one or even more). The surgeon said that it only happens with obese people (I'm not), or with an infection (my case). I think you'd know if you had one as it protrudes like pregnancy and the intestines can be pushed in (gently!) when you are lying flat. There are two types of surgery - laparoscopic and open incision - and the repair usually involves a mesh piece that joins the two open sides together. From what I read, the laparoscopic surgery without using staples is the better option. Good luck!

jjaj133's picture
Posts: 869
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi Lisa, have a huge bulge that 2 drs. said was a surgical hernia. right of he liver resection scar. when i have the 2nd liver resection in a couple weeks, the dr. is going to look a it. the first 2 said it's not worth fixing.I complained of pain, that is how they found the liver lesion this time. I am not saying that is what you may have.! I know its is from the hernia. Now the surgeon says it might just be weak ab muscles. So i have to wait til i wake from surgery to find out what it is.My point is, they are very common and I was told they don't fix them unless there is pain. Or in Phila. speak fugetaboutit!!! ; )

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