Risks associated with "components separation" for closure of complex abdominal wall defects

James B. Lowe, Julie B. Lowe, Jack D. Baty, Jaime R. Garza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The reconstruction of complex abdominal wall defects can often pose a significant challenge to surgeons and their patients. Complex ventral hernias may result from large tumor resections, trauma from gunshot wounds, or infections following routine abdominal surgery. "Components separation" of the abdominal musculature uses advancement of local autologous tissue, when available, to close large ventral wall defects. The authors report on a retrospective chart review of 30 patients who underwent components separation for the closure of complex abdominal defects. The study group was 50 percent female, with a mean age of 45 years, body mass index of 33.2 kg/m2, and abdominal defect size of 240 cm2. On average, 20 percent of patients had preoperative wound infections, 30 percent had intraoperative bowel enterotomies, and 33 percent required prosthetic mesh for closure. Total surgery time averaged 4.8 hours, with a mean postoperative stay of 12.5 days and follow-up of 9.5 months. The recurrence rate was 10 percent; postoperative complications included midline ischemia, infection, and dehiscence occurring at rates of 20, 40, and 43 percent, respectively. This study provides a comprehensive review of the risks and complications associated with the treatment of complex ventral hernias and those associated with abdominal "components separation".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1276-1285
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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