Incisional hernia is a clinical diagnosis and tests are seldom required to further substantiate the diagnosis.
Reviewing the patient's symptoms and medical history are important in establishing the diagnosis of incisional hernia.
Detailed case records, of prior surgeries, is required with emphasis on postoperative period.
The surgeon should establish the amount of pain or discomfort the patient is experiencing and if it has grown in size since it was first noticed.
The hernial area is touched (palpated) to feel for any abnormal lump and if it increases in size when the patient coughs or strains or when they bend.
If in doubt about the diagnosis - radiological tests such as an ultrasound examination or in a complex case a computed tomography (CT) may be performed. This will tell the surgeon the extent of the hernia and the contents in the bulge.