Lateral abdominal wall reconstruction

Donald P. Baumann, Charles E. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Lateral abdominal wall (LAW) defects can manifest as a flank hernias, myofascial laxity/bulges, or full-thickness defects. These defects are quite different from those in the anterior abdominal wall defects and the complexity and limited surgical options make repairing the LAW a challenge for the reconstructive surgeon. LAW reconstruction requires an understanding of the anatomy, physiologic forces, and the impact of deinnervation injury to design and perform successful reconstructions of hernia, bulge, and full-thickness defects. Reconstructive strategies must be tailored to address the inguinal ligament, retroperitoneum, chest wall, and diaphragm. Operative technique must focus on stabilization of the LAW to nonyielding points of fixation at the anatomic borders of the LAW far beyond the musculofascial borders of the defect itself. Thus, hernias, bulges, and full-thickness defects are approached in a similar fashion. Mesh reinforcement is uniformly required in lateral abdominal wall reconstruction. Inlay mesh placement with overlying myofascial coverage is preferred as a first-line option as is the case in anterior abdominal wall reconstruction. However, interposition bridging repairs are often performed as the surrounding myofascial tissue precludes a dual layered closure. The decision to place bioprosthetic or prosthetic mesh depends on surgeon preference, patient comorbidities, and clinical factors of the repair. Regardless of mesh type, the overlying soft tissue must provide stable cutaneous coverage and obliteration of dead space. In cases where the fasciocutaneous flaps surrounding the defect are inadequate for closure, regional pedicled flaps or free flaps are recruited to achieve stable soft tissue coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • biologic mesh
  • bioprosthetic mesh
  • bulge
  • component separation
  • hernia
  • lateral abdominal wall reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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