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Experiencing a bulge in abdomen after having appendectomy. Also have bowel obstruction. Need surgery?

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Practicing since : 1999
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Hello, I am a 59 year old female in excellent physical condition. I am very active in sports (swimming, biking, skiiing etc.). In XXXXXXX 2006, I had an emergency appendectomy that resulted in peritonitis. Since then, I've felt great until approx. a month ago, I started experiencing a bulge on the right side of my abdomen (right under the incision). It usually occurs after eating, drinking fluids, and sometimes when having a bowel movement. Also, sometimes, I feel like I have a "stitch" on my right side of the addomen that I have to let subside before I get up and start moving again. It actually takes my breath away because of momentary pain. This usually occurs in the evening as opposed to the morning hours. I am a slender person and I have also noticed that my right side of my addomen is larger than my left side. My abdomen, in general, has become larger since the surgery. My mother and my older sister have both had similar issues during their lifetime. My mother passed away in 2010 due to a bowel obstruction. She had an appendectomy in her 20s, hernia surgery twice, and mesh was used during the the second surgery. She had complained of this type of problem during the last 40 years even after her hernia surgeries. I need to get this issue resolved. If I need surgery then I will look into that as soon as possible. I needt to know what is the best surgical procedure available to eliminate this health issue. Also, is their a surgeon in southern California that is an expert in this type of surgery? Thank you. XXXXXXX
Posted Wed, 19 Dec 2012 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Timothy Raichle 3 hours later
Hello, I would be happy to help you with your question.
XXXXXXX what you are describing is an incisional hernia. There is an incision at the skin level, but also at a deeper level called the "fascia" (pronounced fashia). You are describing a bulge, intermittent pain, worse with straining, and a family history of the same. This is definitely what is going on.

In most cases it is a surgical problem, especially if you are having pain related symptoms as there is a concern about bowel getting stuck in this defect in the fascia. The surgery is most often performed laparoscopically (with small incisions and cameras) and in many cases mesh like material is used to close the defect.

I do not specifically know any surgeons in Southern CA, but I would seek out someone with the following qualifications:
1. Board-certified General Surgeon
2. With a focus on minimally invasive techniques

I hope this helps. Please ask me if you have any additional questions!
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