To discuss the difficulties in dealing with infected or exposed ventral hernia mesh, and to illustrate one solution using an autogenous abdominal wall reconstruction technique.
The definitive treatment for any infected prosthetic material in the body is removal and substitution. When ventral hernia mesh becomes exposed or infected, its removal requires a solution to prevent a subsequent hernia or evisceration.
Eleven patients with ventral hernia mesh that was exposed, nonincorporated, with chronic drainage, or associated with a spontaneous enterocutaneous fistula were referred by their initial surgeons after failed local wound care for definitive management. The patients were treated with radical en bloc excision of mesh and scarred fascia followed by immediate abdominal wall reconstruction using bilateral sliding rectus abdominis myofascial advancement flaps.
Four of the 11 patients treated for infected mesh additionally required a bowel resection. Transverse defect size ranged from 8 to 18 cm (average 13 cm). Average procedure duration was 3 hours without bowel repair and 5 hours with bowel repair. Postoperative length of stay was 5 to 7 days without bowel repair and 7 to 9 days with bowel repair. Complications included hernia recurrence in one case and stitch abscesses in two cases. Follow-up ranges from 6 to 54 months (average 24 months).
Removal of infected mesh and autogenous flap reconstruction is a safe, reliable, and one-step surgical solution to the problem of infected abdominal wall mesh.
From the Departments of Surgery and the Divisions of Plastic Surgery, *Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, and †Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Correspondence: Dr. Gregory A. Dumanian, Division of Plastic Surgery, 675 N. St. Clair, Suite 19-250, Chicago, IL 60611.
Accepted for publication August 5, 2002.