Laparoscopic repair of incarcerated ventral abdominal wall hernias

R H Shah, A Sharma, R Khullar, V Soni, M Baijal, P K Chowbey
Hernia: the Journal of Hernias and Abdominal Wall Surgery 2008, 12 (5): 457-63

BACKGROUND: The role of laparoscopy in the management of incarcerated (irreducible) ventral hernia remains to be elucidated. We present our experience of the laparoscopic repair of incarcerated primary ventral and incisional hernias over an 8-year period.

METHODS: A retrospective review of the records of 112 patients undergoing laparoscopic repair for incarcerated primary ventral and incisional hernias from January 1998 to February 2006 was performed. The patient demographics, perioperative data, and postoperative complications were assessed.

RESULTS: The procedure was completed entirely laparoscopically in 103 patients (91.9%) with the placement of intraperitoneal mesh. A sutured tissue repair (without mesh) was performed in seven patients and hernia repair was abandoned after laparoscopy in two patients. Five patients required limited conversion by a targeted skin incision for the resection of nonviable bowel (three patients) and to complete adhesiolysis within multiloculated hernial sacs (two patients). The contents of the hernial sacs were incarcerated omentum (42 patients), small bowel (28 patients), large bowel (six patients), and omentum and small bowel (34 patients). Of these, seven patients presented with signs of acute small-bowel obstruction. The mean size of the largest defect through which incarceration occurred was 3.5 +/- 1.6 cm (range 1.5-7.5 cm) and the mean size of the mesh used was 379 +/- 210 cm2 (range 225-780 cm2). The mean operative time was 96 +/- 40.8 min (range 50-170 min). Inadvertent enterotomy occurred in four patients during bowel reduction and adhesiolysis. In two patients, the enterotomy was repaired by total laparoscopy followed by mesh placement, and two patients required conversion to formal laparotomy due to long-segment tears and peritoneal contamination. The average postoperative hospital stay was 2.8 +/- 1.5 days (range 1-6.5 days). Postoperative complications occurred in 20.5% patients. There was no mortality. Hernia recurred in three patients at a mean follow-up of 48 +/- 28.3 months (range 1-84 months).

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic ventral abdominal wall hernia repair can be safely performed with a low complication rate, even in incarcerated hernias. Careful bowel reduction with adhesiolysis and mesh repair in an uncontaminated abdomen with a 5-cm mesh overlap remain key factors for a successful outcome.

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