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Incisional abdominal hernia: the open mesh repair

  • Current Concepts in Clinical Surgery
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Mesh techniques are the methods of choice for the repair of incisional hernias since these are due to the formation of unstable scar tissue.


We review the materials and techniques used in the repair of incisional hernias. We describe in detail the operative technique performed in our clinic, the pitfalls of the repair, and the overlap behind the xiphoid and the pubic bone.


Polypropylene is the material widely used for open mesh repair. New developments have led to low-weight, large-pore polypropylene prostheses, which are adjusted to the physiological requirements of the abdominal wall and permit a proper tissue integration. These meshes provide the possibility of forming a scar net instead of a stiff scar plate and therefore help to avoid former known mesh complications.


The ideal position for the mesh is the retromuscular sublay position where the force of the abdominal pressure holds the prosthesis against the deep surface of the muscles. The lowest incidence rates of recurrence have been reported for the retromuscular sublay repair; even after long-term follow-up recurrence rates of 10% are possible. Attaining such good results requires an adequate size of the mesh with sufficient overlap of at least 5–6 cm in all directions. Open mesh repair using modern low-weight polypropylene meshes in the retromuscular sublay technique offers excellent results for the treatment of incisional hernias.

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Correspondence to V. Schumpelick.

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Schumpelick, V., Klinge, U., Junge, K. et al. Incisional abdominal hernia: the open mesh repair. Langenbecks Arch Surg 389, 1–5 (2004).

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