Prophylactic placement of permanent synthetic mesh at the time of ostomy closure prevents formation of incisional hernias

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Reversal of an enterostomy results in a high rate of incisional hernia at the ostomy site. Prophylactic mesh reinforcement of the fascial defect is typically not considered due to the contaminated nature of the case. We present the outcomes of a series of prophylactic mesh reinforcements with retromuscular, large-pore polypropylene at the time of enterostomy reversal.


Retrospective review of all ostomy reversals was performed. All cases with placement of synthetic mesh reinforcement were identified from a prospectively maintained, hernia database. Primary end points were surgical site occurrence, surgical site infection, and hernia occurrence.


Ostomy reversal was performed in 359 patients; 91 were reinforced with mesh and 268 without mesh. Colostomy reversal was performed in 56.5% and ileostomy in 43.5%. The mesh group had a greater body mass index and a greater incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but groups were otherwise similar. A midline incisional hernia was present in 45% of the mesh group vs 4.5% in the controls. Incidence of surgical site occurrence and surgical site infection were similar for mesh and control groups (21 vs 22.8%; P = .82 and 20 vs 19.8%; P = 1.000, respectively). Superficial surgical site infection was less with mesh (8 vs 16.4%; P = .039). Incidence of a hernia developing at the stoma site was decreased markedly with mesh (1% vs 17.2%; P < .001), as was the occurrence of a midline hernia (6% vs 19%; P = .004). Mesh was placed across the midline prophylactically in 29.7% of cases, which decreased midline hernia formation from 24.1% to 4% (P = .019).


Retromuscular placement of permanent synthetic mesh at the time of enterostomy reversal is effective in preventing development of incisional hernia without increased risk of surgical site occurrence or surgical site infection.

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