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What are the chances of getting a hernia after gallbladder surgery?

I am a 33 year old male. I want to know what are the chances of getting a hernia after gallbladder surgery?

7 Answers

Gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) is usually done with a laparoscope through 4 small incisions. Three are 5mm and one 10mm. The likelihood of an incisional hernia is low. If you have multiple or large gallstones the 10mm incision may have to be enlarged which would potentially increase the hernia risk.
The chances of getting a hernia after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy is very low, around 1 %. If the operation is done with an open incision or done robotically the chances may go up because the incisions are bigger.
If you get a laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, which what you will get in 90%-95% of cases, the risk of her is very, very low. On the other hand, if you get an open gallbladder surgery, which may have to be performed in 5%-10% of cases, the likelihood of having a hernia (called incisional hernia) is way higher than laparoscopic approach. The surgeon may have to convert the laparoscopic to open surgery if there is difficulty in safely proceeding with laparoscopic approach in case of severe inflammation or scar tissue, for example.

If this is an elective procedure, your risks are low. However, if there is infection or comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, or autoimmune disease, then your risk for a hernia is very high. Also, if the surgery takes over 2 hours to complete and there are any episodes of hypotension during the procedure. Lastly, you went into the procedure malnourished, anemic and Vitamin D deficient.

Dr Kelly
Based on the latest data from the NIH, the chances of developing a hernia after laparoscopic gallbladder surgery lies between 0.02% to 3.6%. So, with laparoscopic surgery, there is a > 96% chance that you will NOT develop a hernia; the odds are in you favor! Of course, there are factors that increase this risk. If the surgery is done "open" or the "old fashioned way" with an incision, then the risk increases between 15 to 20%. Also, some people are more prone to hernias than others. Obesity is a big factor. Patients with a BMI (body mass index) > 35 have a significantly increased risk of developing hernias post-operatively. (This is true for ANY abdominal surgery, not just gallbladder surgery.) People who have conditions that cause chronic coughing are also at higher risk (e.g., smokers, COPD, and emphysema patients). If you are healthy and adhere to the recommendations of your surgeon, it is unlikely that you will develop a hernia. Post-operatively after gallbladder surgery we recommend that patients avoid lifting anything greater than 10 pounds for two weeks. Since most people don't know exactly what 10 pounds is, I tell my patients to avoid lifting "anything heavier than a gallon of milk" for 2 weeks.

Dr. P
Hernias after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy are rare.
If you are having your procedure done laparoscopically, the risk is minimal, probably less than 1%. Risk factors for developing hernias include obesity, chronic cough (such as in smokers), straining to have bowel movements due to constipation, men with prostate problems who have to strain to urinate, repetitive heavy lifting, and infections after surgery.