Prevention of Incisional Hernias by Prophylactic Mesh-augmented Reinforcement of Midline Laparotomies for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Filip E Muysoms, Olivier Detry, Tijl Vierendeels, Marc Huyghe, Marc Miserez, Martin Ruppert, Tim Tollens, Jean-Olivier Defraigne, Frederik Berrevoet
Annals of Surgery 2016, 263 (4): 638-45

BACKGROUND: The incidence of incisional hernias after abdominal aortic aneurysm repair is high. Prophylactic mesh-augmented reinforcement during laparotomy closure has been proposed in patients at high risk of incisional hernia.

METHODS: A multicenter randomized trial was conducted on patients undergoing elective abdominal aortic aneurysm repair through a midline laparotomy ( NCT00757133). In the study group, retromuscular mesh-augmented reinforcement was performed with a large-pore polypropylene mesh (Ultrapro, width 7.5 cm). The primary endpoint was the incidence of incisional hernias at 2-year follow-up.

RESULTS: Between February 2009 and January 2013, 120 patients were recruited at 8 Belgian centers. Patients' characteristics at baseline were similar between groups. Operative and postoperative characteristics showed no difference in morbidity or mortality. The cumulative incidence of incisional hernias at 2-year follow-up after conventional closure was 28% (95% confidence interval [CI], 17%-41%) versus 0% (95% CI, 0%-6%) after mesh-augmented reinforcement (P < 0.0001; Fisher exact test). The estimated "freedom of incisional hernia" curves (Kaplan-Meier estimate) were significantly different across study arms (χ = 19.5, P < 0.0001; Mantel-Cox test). No adverse effect related to mesh-augmented reinforcement was observed, apart from an increased mean time to close the abdominal wall for mesh-augmented reinforcement compared with the control group: 46 minutes (SD, 18.6) versus 30 minutes (SD, 18.5), respectively (P < 0.001; Mann-Whitney U test).

CONCLUSIONS: Prophylactic retromuscular mesh-augmented reinforcement of a midline laparotomy in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm is safe and effectively prevents the development of incisional hernia during 2 years, with an additional mean operative time of 16 minutes.

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