Who is at Risk of Internal Hernia After Abdominal Surgery?
Patients most at risk of developing an internal hernia after abdominal surgery, especially weight loss surgery, may be those with the fastest post-surgery weight loss. Extremely fast weight loss may make it easier for the small bowel to pass through mesentery defects. (Medical News Today 2008)
In patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, the risk of internal hernia is higher for those who had laparascopic surgery (also called keyhole surgery or "band-aid" surgery because of the small incisions) than for those who had conventional, open surgery. This may be because of the decreased amount of scarring (adhesions) resulting from laparoscopic surgery (Jeansonne et al. 2007).
Because of the changes that occur in the body during pregnancy, pregnant women appear to be at an increased risk of an internal hernia if they have a history of abdominal surgery. The hernia may occur early or late in the pregnancy (case reports include occurrences at 12 weeks and at 34 weeks gestation, Kakarla et al. 2005).
Internal hernia is not a common complication of abdominal surgery, but people at risk should be aware of the possibility. An internal hernia should be treated as an emergency because the blood supply can be cut off to the herniated tissue, causing it to die. If you have had abdominal surgery for trauma or weight loss, make sure you discuss your risk with your treatment team.