Identifying critical computed tomography (CT) imaging findings for the preoperative planning of ventral hernia repairs

Bradley Kushner, Carter Starnes, Maggie Sehnert, Sara Holden, Jeffrey Blatnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Computed Tomography (CT) reports vary in qualitative detail and may not capture the information required for the preoperative planning of ventral hernia repairs. The goals of this study were to first survey general and hernia surgeons to establish key hernia imaging characteristics that should be included on CT reports and secondly, to retrospectively review preoperative CTs to determine the percentage that these same imaging characteristics are being reported. Methods: General and hernia surgeons were surveyed and asked to rank important hernia imaging factors as determined by two academic hernia surgeons on a Likert scoring scale. Additionally, preoperative abdominal/pelvic CT reports of patients who underwent a ventral hernia repair at a single academic institution were retrospectively reviewed for the presence of these imaging factors. Results: Fifty-one general and hernia surgeons responded to the survey. The most important imaging findings as determined by survey respondents were size of the hernia defect and presence of previous mesh. Additionally, 61% of respondents felt that the imaging report was less important than their own personal CT interpretation. Of the 257 preoperative CT reports reviewed, the number of defects was the most commonly reported factor (100%). The size of the defect and the presence of prior mesh was only included on 38% and 15% of reports, respectively. Conclusions: CT reports vary in their reported imaging findings and often fail to include important preoperative hernia features. Future studies should aim to standardize imaging reports to better utilize CTs for the preoperative planning of abdominal wall reconstructions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-969
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Abdominal wall reconstructions
  • Computed tomography
  • Preoperative planning
  • Ventral hernias


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