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imageBackgroundComplex abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR) remains challenging. Techniques for repair are numerous and include primary fascial approximation, separation of components (SOC), and use of various biologic and synthetic meshes. Given the vast expanse of available techniques and lack of consistent algorithms, an analysis of outcomes in AWR is presented.
MethodsA retrospective review was performed of complex AWRs performed by 2 surgeons at a single institution from July 2008 to October of 2011. Outcome differences for hernia repairs specifically addressing SOC with an acellular dermis inlay (retrorectus), underlay, or overlay mesh, as well as interposition biologic mesh placement were included.
ResultsA total of 66 patients were identified. The average body mass index in this population was 35.5 kg/m2. The average age was 53.7 years, with 62% females and 38% males. The overall rate of tobacco use history was 48%. Twenty-eight percent were diabetic. The overall hernia recurrence rate was 16%. Patients having SOC with inlay (retrorectus) mesh had a hernia recurrence rate of 9%. Hernia recurrence in those with SOC and biologic mesh reinforcement as an underlay or onlay was 12%; in those without mesh reinforcement, 22%; and for those with a biologic mesh interposition, 40%.
ConclusionsThe results of this review show that hernia recurrence rates are decreased with primary fascial repair. Further reduction occurs when biologic mesh reinforcement is used. The lowest recurrence rates were seen in the group with SOC and a porcine biologic mesh inlay. Abdominal wall reconstruction is challenging and with continued outcomes review a refined algorithm can be achieved.
Clinical Question/Level of EvidenceTherapeutic: III

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