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Staged abdominal wall reconstruction in the setting of complex gastrointestinal reconstruction.

PURPOSE: Literature on one- versus two-staged abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR) with complex gastrointestinal reconstruction (GIR) is limited to single-arm case series with a focus on patients who complete all planned stages. Herein, we describe our experience with both one- and two-staged approaches to AWR/GIR, with attention to those who did not complete both intended stages.

METHODS: A retrospective review of prospectively collected data was conducted to identify patients who underwent a one- or two-stage approach to GIR/AWR from 2013 to 2020. The one-stage approach included GIR and definitive sublay mesh herniorrhaphy. The two-stage approach included Stage 1 (S1)-GIR and non-definitive herniorrhaphy and Stage 2 (S2)-definitive sublay mesh herniorrhaphy.

RESULTS: Fifty-four patients underwent GIR/AWR: 20 (37.0%) underwent a planned 1-stage operation while 34 (63.0%) underwent S1 of a planned 2-stage approach. Patients assigned to the 2-stage approach were more likely to be smokers, have a history of mesh infection, have an enterocutaneous fistula, and a contaminated wound class (p<0.05). Of the 34 patients who underwent S1, 12 (35.3%) completed S2 during the mean follow-up period of 44 months while 22 (64.7%) did not complete S2. Of these, 10 (45.5%) developed hernia recurrence but did not undergo S2 secondary to elective nonoperative management (40%), pending preoperative optimization (30%), additional complex GIR (10%), hernia-related incarceration requiring emergent surgery (10%), or unrelated death (10%). No differences in outcome including SSI, SSO, readmission, and recurrence were noted between the 12 patients who completed the two-stage approach and the 20 patients who completed a one-stage approach, despite increased risk factors for complications in the 2-stage group (p>0.05).

CONCLUSION: Planned two-stage operations for GIR/AWR may distribute operative complexity and post-operative morbidity into separate surgical interventions. However, many patients may never undergo the intended definitive S2 herniorrhaphy. Future evaluation of 1- versus 2-stage GIR/AWR is needed to clarify indications for each approach. This work must also consider the frequent deviations from intended clinical course demonstrated in this study.

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