The aim of this study was to define the indicators predicting improved abdominal wall function after surgical repair of abdominal rectus diastasis (ARD). Preoperative subjective assessment quantified by the validated Ventral Hernia Pain Questionnaire (VHPQ) was related to relative postoperative functional improvement in abdominal muscle strength.Methods:
Fifty-seven patients undergoing surgery for ARD completed the VHPQ before surgery. Preoperative pain assessment results were compared with the relative improvement in muscle strength measured with the BioDex system 4.Results:
There was a correlation between the relative improvement in muscle strength measured by the BioDex System 4 for flexion at 30 degrees (P = 0.046) and 60 degrees per second (P = 0.004) and the preoperative question, “Do you find it painful to sit for more than 30 minutes?” There was also a correlation between BioDex improvement for flexion at 30 degrees (P = 0.022) and for isometric work load (P = 0.038) and the preoperative question, “Has abdominal pain limited your ability to perform sports activities?” The VHPQ responses also formed a pattern with a fairly good correlation between other BioDex modalities (with the exception of extension at 60 degrees per second) and the response to the question regarding complaints when performing sports. Postoperative visual analog scale ratings of abdominal wall stability correlated to the questions regarding complaints when sitting (P = 0.040) and standing (P = 0.047). No other correlation was seen.Conclusion:
VHPQ ratings concerning pain while being seated for more than 30 minutes and pain limiting the ability to perform sports are promising indicators in the identification of patients likely to benefit from surgical correction of their ARD.