Summary: Incisional hernia is a frequent complication of abdominal operations with an incidence of 10–23%, which can increase to 38% in specific risk groups. It is associated with pain and discomfort, resulting in a decreased quality of life. Incarceration and strangulation of abdominal contents can take place, for which emergency surgery is indicated, with associated morbidity and mortality. The authors (2015) estimate about 348,000 operations for incisional hernia are done every year in the US with $3.2 billion in annual associated costs.
“All high-tension internal surgical closures require that the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of the repair remains greater than the forces applied. Otherwise, changes at the suture/tissue interface (STI) will lead to acute or chronic suture pull-through and surgical failure. For the abdominal wall, prophylactic flat meshes have been shown to improve outcomes of laparotomy closures and hernia repairs. Unfortunately, flat planar meshes have their own drawbacks, including increased time for placement, increased foreign material, increased tissue dissection, pain, infection, and cost.”
“One hundred and seven patients underwent a mesh sutured abdominal wall closure. Seventy-six patients had preoperative hernias, and the mean hernia width by CT scan for those with scans was 9.1 cm. Forty-nine surgical fields were clean-contaminated, contaminated, or dirty. Five patients had infections within the first 30 days. Only one knot was removed as an office procedure. Mean follow-up at 234 days revealed 4 recurrent hernias.”
RESULTS: We included 494 patients from 2014 to 2015 and 1079 patients from our historical cohort for comparison. All patients had a midline laparotomy in an emergency setting. The rate of dehiscence was reduced from 6.6% to 3.8%, P = 0.03 comparing year 2009 to 2013 with 2014 to 2015. Factors associated with dehiscence were male gender [hazard ratio (HR) 2.8, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) (1.8-4.4), P < 0.001], performance status ≥3 [HR 2.1, 95% CI (1.2-3.7), P = 0.006], cirrhosis [HR 3.8, 95% CI (1.5-9.5), P = 0.004], and retention sutures [HR 2.8, 95% CI (1.6-4.9), P < 0.000]. The 30-day mortality rate was 18.4% in the standardized group vs 22.4% in 2009 to 2013, P = 0.057 and 90-day mortality 24.2% vs 30.4%, P = 0.008.
CONCLUSION: The standardized procedure of closing the midline laparotomy by using a “small steps” technique of continuous suturing with a slowly absorbable (polydioxanone) suture material reduces the rate of fascial dehiscence.
FINDINGS: Between Oct 20, 2009, and March 12, 2012, we randomly assigned 560 patients to the large bites group (n=284) or the small bites group (n=276). Follow-up ended on Aug 30, 2013; 545 (97%) patients completed follow-up and were included in the primary outcome analysis. Patients in the small bites group had fascial closures sutured with more stitches than those in the large bites group (mean number of stitches 45 [SD 12] vs 25 ; p<0·0001), a higher ratio of suture length to wound length (5·0 [1·5] vs 4·3 [1·4]; p<0·0001) and a longer closure time (14  vs 10  min; p<0·0001). At 1 year follow-up, 57 (21%) of 277 patients in the large bites group and 35 (13%) of 268 patients in the small bites group had incisional hernia (p=0·0220, covariate adjusted odds ratio 0·52, 95% CI 0·31-0·87; p=0·0131). Rates of adverse events did not differ significantly between groups.