Use of double-layer autologous dermal flap in the treatment of recurrent and/or infected incisional hernias: presentation of the surgical technique and the results of 1-year follow-up-a prospective, consecutive cohort study

G Martis, L Damjanovich
Hernia: the Journal of Hernias and Abdominal Wall Surgery 2016, 20 (3): 461-70

INTRODUCTION: The difficulties of treating recurrent and/or infected incisional hernias are well known in surgical practice. Several surgical techniques and various types of grafts are available for surgeons. This study presents a new surgical technique option together with the results of the 1-year follow-up.

PURPOSE: The primary aim of the study is to present the surgical technique of the procedure suitable for the treatment of recurrent and/or infected incisional hernias. The secondary aim is to determine the recurrence rate and analyse the surgical complications. The tertiary aim is to present the quality of life test results performed 3, 6 and 12 months after the surgery.

PATIENTS AND METHOD: The authors evaluated the results of 36 recurrent and/or infected incisional hernia surgeries (11 men, average age 60.6 years; 25 women, average age 58.9 years) performed with their own surgical method in the framework of a tightly controlled, prospective, interventional and observational consecutive cohort study conducted between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2013 at a university surgical department. The study evaluates the results of the 1-year follow-up period. All 36 patients had at least one recurrence of abdominal wall hernia; 12 of them also had concurrent infection of the synthetic graft and a complicating fistula. The mean BMI was 31.82 kg/m(2) (25.2-43.5 kg/m(2)). The average size of the abdominal wall defect was 145.9 cm(2) (59-275 cm(2)). The abdominal wall reconstruction was performed using an autologous, double-layer dermal flap. The grafts, which had been inserted during previous surgeries, were removed completely. The autologous dermal tissue was prepared using the flap harvested during dermolipectomy. The reconstruction was achieved using a tension-free technique. The essence of the abdominal wall reconstruction is the completion of the abdominal wall defect by a double-layer autologous dermal flap. The original abdominal wall defect was not closed by direct sutures. The quality of the prepared dermal flap was histologically evaluated. IAPMS (intra-abdominal pressure monitoring set) was applied to verify intra-abdominal pressure in the post-operative period. The result of the surgeries was assessed using a quality of life questionnaire.

RESULTS: No recurrence of the abdominal wall hernia was registered during the 1-year follow-up period. Abdominal bulking was observed in case of three patients (8.3 %). Wound infection occurred in one patient (2.77 %) and skin dehiscence in two patients (5.55 %). Haematoma was registered in case of one patient (2.77 %) on the fifth post-operative day. Seroma formation occurred in case of eight patients (22.22 %), which required percutaneous tapping. A fistula formation was observed in one patient (2.77 %) 45 days after the surgery. The intra-abdominal pressure remained moderately elevated during the early post-operative period (9.65-5.76 mmHg on post-operative days 1 and 5). Reoperation was performed in one case due to haematoma. No fatality occurred.

CONCLUSIONS: The 1-year recurrence rate in case of the abdominal wall reconstruction using double-layer autologous dermal flap is favourable. Being compliant with the surgical technique developed, the procedure is safe to perform. The number of surgical site infections and fistula formations is low. Based on the questionnaires evaluated, all patients would choose this method instead of the previous reconstruction(s). The method is cost-effective. Based on the results, this procedure is feasible for the treatment of recurrent and/or infected abdominal wall, incisional ventral hernias in obese "high risk" patients.

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