Component Separation Technique for Repair of Massive Abdominal Wall Defects at a Pediatric Hospital

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Massive defects of the abdominal wall are commonly repaired with the component separation technique (CST) when insufficient tissue exists to close the defect primarily. Although the utility of CST has been documented in cases of large ventral hernias in adults, its application to congenital and acquired defects in pediatric patients has been largely unreported. This study is a retrospective case series discussing the success of CST at a large pediatric hospital.


Seven patients with massive abdominal wall defects, including ventral hernia and omphalocele, repaired with CST at a pediatric hospital were identified as candidates. Patient records were reviewed for relevant history, cause of ventral hernia, surgical repair using CST with or without tissue expansion (TE), use of mesh, postoperative complications, and length of follow-up.


Seven patients, 4 with omphalocele and 3 with acquired ventral hernia, were successfully treated with CST. Median patient age at the time of CST was 7 years (range, 3–19 years) with a mean defect diameter of 10.1 cm (range, 5–12 cm). Four patients underwent TE before component separation. Recurrent ventral hernia required reoperation with CST in 2 cases. Mean follow-up was 2 years and 9 months (range, 13 months-6 years).


Component separation technique is a valuable method for abdominal wall reconstruction in pediatric patients with low risk of serious complication. This technique can be augmented with TE and mesh placement to address lack of available soft tissue or other operative challenges.

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