[Management of complicated incisional hernias with underlay-technique implanted polypropylene mesh. An effective technique in French hernia surgery]

A W Trupka, K K Hallfeldt, S Schmidbauer, L Schweiberer
Der Chirurg; Zeitschrift Für Alle Gebiete der Operativen Medizen 1998, 69 (7): 766-72

UNLABELLED: Incisional hernia repair with conventional techniques (simple closure, Mayo-technique) is associated with unacceptable recurrence rates of 30-50%. Therefore, surgical repair using different prosthetic biomaterials is becoming increasingly popular. Further to favourable results by French hernia surgeons, we studied the results of underlay prosthetic mesh repair using polypropylene mesh in complicated and recurrent incisional hernias.

METHOD: After preparation and excision of the entire hernia sac, the posterior rectus sheath is freed from the muscle bellies on both sides. The peritoneum and posterior rectus sheaths are closed with a continuous looped polyglyconate suture. The prosthesis used for midline hernias is positioned on the posterior rectus sheath and extends far beyond the borders of the myoaponeurotic defect. The anterior rectus sheath is closed with a continuous suture. The prosthesis for lumbar and subcostal hernias is placed in a prepared space between the transverse and oblique muscles. Intraperitoneal placement of the mesh must be avoided.

RESULTS: Between January 1996 and August 1997 we performed a total of 33 incisional hernia repairs (14 primary hernias, 19 recurrent hernias) using this technique (16 women, 17 men, mean age 56.19 +/- 12.92 years). Local complications occurred in four patients (12%): superficial wound infection (n = 2), postoperative bleeding, requiring reoperation (n = 1), minor hemato-seroma (n = 1). One patient suddenly died on the 3rd post-operative day from severe pulmonary embolism (mortality 3%). Twenty-two patients with a minimum follow up to 6 months were re-examined clinically. The average follow-up time for this group was 9 months (range 6-17 months). To date no recurrent hernias have been observed. There were only minor complaints like "a feeling of tension" in the abdominal wall (n = 3) and slight pain under physical stress (n = 6).

CONCLUSIONS: The use of prosthetic mesh should be considered for repair of large or recurrent incisional hernias, especially in high-risk patients (obesity, obstructive lung disease) and complicated hernias. The aforementioned technique of underlay prosthetic repair using polypropylene mesh fixed onto the posterior rectus sheath allows for anatomical and consolidated reconstruction of the damaged abdominal wall with excellent results and low complication rates.

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