Optimum repair for massive ventral hernias in the morbidly obese patient--is panniculectomy helpful?

Research paper by Karem C KC Harth, Jeffrey A JA Blatnik, Michael J MJ Rosen

Indexed on: 04 Mar '11Published on: 04 Mar '11Published in: The American Journal of Surgery®


The appropriate surgical management of morbidly obese patients with symptomatic hernias is not well defined. The authors evaluated the role of simultaneous panniculectomy in complex abdominal wall reconstruction.A retrospective study (2007-2010) was conducted of morbidly obese (body mass index > 40 kg/m(2)) patients undergoing open complex abdominal wall reconstruction.Thirty patients were identified. Twenty underwent simultaneous panniculectomy. The median pannus weight was 5.2 kg. Greater all-cause postoperative complications and wound-related morbidity occurred in the panniculectomy group (P < .05). Performing a panniculectomy increased the risk for a wound complication by 5-fold (P = .04). Following 7-month to 9-month follow-up, both groups had a recurrence rate of 10%.Simultaneous panniculectomy in the setting of complex abdominal wall reconstruction is feasible but associated with significant postoperative morbidity. Its potential for benefit in reducing long-term hernia recurrence remains unclear.