Reconstruction of the abdominal wall to repair ventral hernias continues to pose a challenge to surgeons due to relatively high rates of recurrence and morbidity. In 1990, Ramirez pioneered a technique of components separation of the abdominal wall for ventral hernia repair. Although an effective hernia repair, the mobilization of skin and subcutaneous tissue endangers the blood supply and predisposes midline skin to necrosis. The goal of this study is to determine whether releasing incisions in the transversus abdominis fascia and posterior rectus sheath provide adequate mobilization of the abdominal wall necessary for ventral hernia repair, thus paving the way for a laparoscopic component separation technique. Ten fresh cadavers were used and one side of the abdomen underwent the conventional Ramirez components separation: midline incision, dissection of skin and subcutaneous tissue off the anterior abdominal wall, and incisions in the external oblique aponeurosis and posterior rectus sheath, while the other side received incisions in the transversus abdominis fascia and the posterior rectus sheath with no undermining of the skin. The amount of fascial translation was measured after each incision. Incising only the external oblique aponeurosis produced greater mobilization of the abdominal wall at the level of the umbilicus (P = 0.02) and anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS, P = 0.029) than releasing only transversus abdominis fascia. More importantly, there was no statistically significant difference in the amount of release produced by the complete internal-release components separation versus the conventional technique. In order to test the feasibility of performing the procedure laparoscopically, one additional cadaver underwent a laparoscopic transversus abdominis fascia release. The procedure was successful and resulted in comparable amounts of fascial release as the other 10 cadavers. From this study, it appears technically feasible to perform a laparoscopic components separation to repair a ventral hernia and the procedure produces the same amount of release as the conventional open component separation technique.
- Component(s) separation technique
- Incisional hernia repair
- Laparoscopic hernia repair
- Ventral hernia repair