The Case for Onlay Biologic Mesh in Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Using Progressive Tension Suture Fixation

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: After many years of debate, underlay and sublay placement of mesh slowly emerged as the standard of care in abdominal wall reconstruction because of lower hernia recurrence rates. However, onlay has the advantages of being faster, less invasive, and technically easier compared with underlay and sublay. Therefore, if a similar recurrence could be achieved, then onlay should be a consideration. In this study, we present a new onlay method using multipoint progressive tension suture fixation. METHODS: This was a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent abdominal wall reconstruction from 2012 to 2019. Inclusion criteria included onlay mesh placement and at least 1 year of follow-up. The core principles of the surgical technique are establishing myofascial continuity by component separation and reinforcing the repair with onlay mesh that is fixated with multipoint progressive tension sutures. RESULTS: The number of patients after exclusions was 59, and the average body mass index was 32.52 ± 6.44 kg/m2. More than half (62.7%) of patients had a history of hypertension, 95% had at least 1 prior abdominal/pelvic surgery, and 61% had at least 1 prior hernia repair. Postoperative complications included 20.3% of patients requiring drainage of a fluid collection in the clinic setting, and 29.3% of patients requiring return to the operating room for any reason (including superficial wound debridement). The average defect size was 231.88 ± 195.86 cm2, the mean follow-up was 3.11 ± 1.83 years, and the recurrence rate was 5.1%. CONCLUSIONS: We report a hernia recurrence rate of 5.1% in a high-risk population with complex defects at a mean of 3.1 years of follow-up using onlay mesh fixated with multipoint progressive tension sutures. This recurrence rate is similar to that reported for both underlay and sublay techniques. However, the onlay approach is technically easier, faster, and less invasive compared with underlay and sublay techniques, which may translate into wider reproducibility, lower costs, and improved patient safety.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lindsey JT; Boyd CJ; Davis C; Wilson J; Kurapati S; de la Torre JI
  • Start Page

  • S498
  • End Page

  • S502
  • Volume

  • 86
  • Issue

  • 6S Suppl 5