The term ‘‘complex (abdominal wall) hernia’’ is often used by general surgeons and other specialists working in the abdomen to describe abdominal wall hernias which are technically challenging and time-consuming.
Four categories were created to classify and discuss the criteria, which were proposed to be included in the definition of ‘‘complex abdominal wall hernia’’: defect size and location, patient history and risk factors, contamination and soft tissue condition, and clinical scenario.
Defect size is an important variable; increased size is a risk factor for 30-day readmission rate and recurrence.
Wound contamination is usually classified according to the US National Research Council Group including clean, clean-contaminated, contaminated, and dirty/infected. It is well-known that contamination and subsequent infection are an important cause of wound dehiscence and reherniation which impair wound healing dynamics.
A recurrent hernia is considered a risk factor for a new recurrence.
Patient status is an important factor. Conditions such as abnormal collagen type I/type III ratio and genetic connective tissue disorders are associated with an increased risk of herniation. Older age, male gender, chronic pulmonary disease, coughing, ascites, jaundice, anemia, emergency surgery, wound infection, obesity, steroid use, hypoalbuminemia, hypertension, perioperative shock are also important risk factors.
The reported incidence of incisional hernia is about 2 to 11% after all laparotomies.
The ideal repair for an abdominal incisional hernia is to restore the anatomical and physiological integrity of the abdominal wall by reconstructing the midline. However, 30 to 50% of defects larger than 6cm recur after primary closure.
The insertion of a synthetic mesh helps to decrease or relieve tension on the suture line and can reduce the incidence of recurrence to 10% or less.
But foreign prosthetic materials have been associated with a high risk of complications such as protrusion, extrusion, infection, and intestinal fistulization.
Laparoscopic repair has provided further improvements with lower infection rates, shorter hospital stay, and a reduction in recurrence with rates of 4 to 16% in recent studies.
In this topic addressing complex laparoscopic cases, we show different scenarios including recurrent infected incisional hernia, fistulization, multi-recurrent incisional hernia, migration, and conversion.