New Study Tests Patient Involvement to Forestall Repeat Ventral Hernia Procedures

Physicians at Harris Health System and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have initiated a new study aimed at improving the odds for success from surgery to repair ventral hernia. At present some 30% of patients who undergo surgery for the painful and debilitating condition require a second procedure to be performed. Ventral hernias occur when an abdominal area weakens and develops a tear or hole. In these cases, abdominal tissue or part of the intestines pushes through these weakened areas, causing pain and potentially deadly complications. The study is testing the effectiveness of a presurgical program of weight management and exercise tolerance in forestalling the need for repeat surgeries. Michael Liang, MD, principal investigator at Harris Health’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, said, “Think of these surgeries like a patient running a marathon or traveling on a transatlantic flight. Our study wants to find out if preparing them for that marathon or flight will help them with better outcomes.”

The study is recruiting 120 patients who have suffered ventral hernia for the 2-year investigation. One cohort will receive coaching and assistance from a team comprised of a nutritionist, health educator, physical therapist, and hernia navigator. In regular meetings, the patients are guided in better eating, sustained exercise, and weight loss. A control group received only the current customary presurgery instructions. Recurrent postsurgical hernias can develop soon after the initial procedure, or years later. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that these hernias are aggravated by overweight.

Read more about hernia, here.

Read a news story about the research and initial findings here.

More information about the Harris Health/UTHealth ventral hernia study may be obtained from Richard Escamilla at 713-566-8581 or e-mail at





Related Content