Evaluation Study
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Component separation for complex congenital abdominal wall defects: not just for adults anymore.

PURPOSE: Operative repair of large abdominal wall defects in infants and children can be challenging. Component separation technique (CST) is utilized in adults to repair large abdominal wall defects but rarely used in children. The purpose of this report is to describe our experience with the CST in pediatric patients including the first description of CST use in newborns.

METHODS: After IRB approval, we reviewed all patients who underwent CST between June 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012 at a large children's hospital. CST included dissection of abdominal wall subcutaneous tissue from the muscle and fascia and an incision of the external oblique aponeurosis one centimeter lateral to the rectus sheath. Biologic mesh onlay or underlay was used to reinforce this closure. Patients were followed for complications.

RESULTS: Nine children, two patients with gastroschisis and seven with omphalocele, were repaired with CST at median (range) 1.1 years (5 days-10.1 years) of age. CST was the first surgical intervention for five children. There were minor wound complications and no recurrences after a median (range) follow up of 16 months (3-34 months).

CONCLUSION: CST can be a very useful technique to repair large abdominal wall defects in children with a loss of abdominal domain.

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