Deepithelialized Flap Closure: An Adjunct to Complex Ventral Hernia Repairs

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Ventral hernias are a major surgical challenge with complications such as wound separations, infections, and recurrences contributing to patient morbidity. We describe a new adjunctive technique that may be helpful in repairing difficult ventral hernias: it involves using an appropriately chosen, redundant abdominal skin edge that is deepithelialized and used to reinforce the hernia repair. A series of 7 patients aged 23 to 84 years in whom the technique was used is presented. All patients had complete repair of their incisional ventral hernia defects without complications of infection, wound dehiscence, seroma formation, reoperation, or hernia recurrence. Furthermore, patients reported a subjective improvement in performing daily activities. Mean follow-up in this series was 19.2 months, with a range from 15.0 to 26.8 months. Advantages include the redistribution of mechanical tension, reinforcement of the midline site of greatest pressure, elimination of dead space, and staggering of suture lines to prevent direct external contamination of prosthetic material should wound dehiscence occur.

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