The Single Fascial Incision Modification of the “Open-Book” Component Separation Repair: A 15-Year Experience

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Complex abdominal wall hernias can be challenging for the reconstructive surgeon. The use of autologous tissue is preferable when possible. The authors review their 15-year experience regarding the “open-book” technique of ventral hernia repair. This repair entails a single fascial incision releasing the external oblique and concurrently incorporates the anterior rectus sheath as a turnover flap for abdominal wall reconstruction. This modification allows large defects to be closed with autologous tissue alone in a 2-layer fascial repair in a vest-over-pants fashion in a simple, straightforward surgical approach.


A 15-year, single-surgeon retrospective review was conducted of 35 consecutive select patients who underwent component separation using the open-book variation. Hospital and office-based charts were reviewed. Complications were recorded as either major (hernia recurrence or any complication requiring readmission or reoperation) or minor (treated on an outpatient basis). Individual complications included hernia recurrence, infection, seroma, hematoma, and skin necrosis.


Sixty-three percent of the patients in the study had, at minimum, 1 recognized comorbidity before reconstructive surgery. Only 2 (6%) of 35 patients experienced hernia recurrence during the course of the 15 years. The minor complication rate was 8/35 (23%), including infection (5; 14%), skin necrosis (5; 14%), and hematoma (1; 3%). The major complication rate was 5/35 (14%), including hernia recurrence (2; 6%), infection (2; 6%), skin necrosis (2; 6%), and hematoma (1; 3%). Factors associated with a statistically significant increased rate of overall complications included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (80%; P = 0.03) and hypertension (39%; P = 0.04). The average length of follow-up was 16 (3) months.


Our series suggests that with appropriate patient selection, this technique is associated with a low hernia recurrence rate when compared to the published literature. Additionally, the major complication rate is acceptable given these patients’ many comorbidities and complicated surgical history. The presence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or hypertension was found to be statistically associated with an increased complication rate. The single fascial incision modification of the open-book component separation technique is an effective addition to the reconstructive surgeons’ armamentarium in the management of these patients.

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