Previous studies suggest that bridged mesh repair for abdominal wall reconstruction may result in worse outcomes than mesh-reinforced, primary fascial closure, particularly when acellular dermal matrix is used. We compared our outcomes of bridged versus reinforced repair using ADM in abdominal wall reconstruction procedures.METHODS
This retrospective study included 535 consecutive patients at our cancer center who underwent abdominal wall reconstruction either for an incisional hernia or for abdominal wall defects left after excision of malignancies involving the abdominal wall with underlay mesh. A total of 484 (90%) patients underwent mesh-reinforced abdominal wall reconstruction and 51 (10%) underwent bridged repair abdominal wall reconstruction. Acellular dermal matrix was used, respectively, in 98% of bridged and 96% of reinforced repairs. We compared outcomes between these 2 groups using propensity score analysis for risk-adjustment in multivariate analysis and for 1-to-1 matching.RESULTS
Bridged repairs had a greater hernia recurrence rate (33.3% vs 6.2%, P < .001), a greater overall complication rate (59% vs 30%, P = .001), and worse freedom from hernia recurrence (log-rank P <.001) than reinforced repairs. Bridged repairs also had a greater rate of wound dehiscence (26% vs 14%, P = .034) and mesh exposure (10% vs 1%, P = .003) than mesh-reinforced abdominal wall reconstruction. When the treatment method was adjusted for propensity score in the propensity-score–matched pairs (n = 100), we found that the rates of hernia recurrence (32% vs 6%, P = .002), overall complications (32% vs 6%, P = .002), and freedom from hernia recurrence (68% vs 32%, P = .001) rates were worse after bridged repair. We did not observe differences in wound healing and mesh complications between the 2 groups.CONCLUSION
In our population of primarily cancer patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center bridged repair for abdominal wall reconstruction is associated with worse outcomes than mesh-reinforced abdominal wall reconstruction. Particularly when employing acellular dermal matrix, reinforced repairs should be used for abdominal wall reconstruction whenever possible.