Primary abdominal wall closure following small bowel transplantation is frequently impossible due to contraction of the abdominal domain. Although abdominal wall transplantation was reported 10 years ago this, technique has not been widely adopted, partly due to its complexity, but largely because of concerns that storing the abdominal allograft until the end of a prolonged intestinal transplant procedure would cause severe ischemia-reperfusion injury. We report six cases of combined small bowel and abdominal wall transplantation where the ischemic time was minimized by remotely revascularizing the abdominal wall on the forearm vessels, synchronous to the intestinal procedure. When the visceral transplant was complete, the abdominal wall was removed from the forearm and revascularized on the abdomen (n = 4), or used to close the abdomen while still vascularized on the forearm (n = 2). Primary abdominal wall closure was achieved in all. Mean cold ischemia was 305 min (300–330 min), and revascularization on the arm was 50 min (30–60 min). Three patients had proven abdominal wall rejection, all treated successfully. Immediate revascularization of the abdominal wall allograft substantially reduces cold ischemia without imposing constraints on the intestinal transplant. Reducing storage time may also have benefits with respect to ischemia-reperfusion-related graft immunogenicity.
The ischemic time in abdominal wall transplantation can be reduced by remote synchronous revascularization of the abdominal wall to the forearm vessels during the visceral implantation.