Abdominal Wall Reconstruction
Abdominal wall reconstruction is a complex reconstructive surgery mainly used for hernia repair, scar repair, and repairing damage caused by previous surgery. It has become a common term used to repair the abdominal wall to re-establish function and structure.
The reliability of the abdominal wall is vital for shielding the internal organs, support the spine and maintain an upright posture. The abdominal wall also assists in the performance of several bodily functions such as urination, coughing or defecation.
Why is Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Needed?
Abdominal wall reconstruction surgery is performed on patients for a variety of reasons but is most often used for people that have previously undergone unsuccessful hernia repair operations. Abdominal wall reconstruction surgery may also be used to treat the following:
- Recurrent hernias
- Incisional hernia
- Management of an infection that develops after surgery
- A wound that develops after a hernia repair
- Management of open wounds in the abdominal wall
- Removal of cancer
How to Prepare for Abdominal Wall Reconstruction
You may be asked to not eat or drink for least 8 hours prior to the surgery. If you smoke, you may be asked to try and cut down or quit 2 weeks prior to surgery as smoking affects with the body’s healing process. Inform your doctor of any medication, supplements or prescriptions you are taking as certain drugs may affect the body’s capability to clot blood that can lead to further complications during and after the surgery.
Abdominal wall reconstruction is performed under a general anaesthetic that means you will be asleep throughout the procedure. The surgery can take between 2-8 hours to complete, depending on your age, condition and complications prior to the procedure. You may be required to stay overnight (up to 5 nights) depending on the complexity of the process.
The goal of abdominal wall reconstruction surgery is to repair the damaged area, return the protruding tissue and reinforce the weakened area of the abdominal wall with either stitching or synthetic mesh.
Abdominal wall reconstruction can be performed as a traditional open surgery or laparoscopically. The laparoscopic technique is low risk and minimally invasive which boasts the benefit of shorter recovery time, a smaller amount of scarring, and reduced bleeding.
The surgeon will reshape the abdominal tissues by carefully separating all the layers of the abdominal wall and placing surgical mesh behind each layer in order to support and strengthen the abdominal muscles.
Following surgery, you will be required to stay in hospital for up to 5 nights; this depends on your overall health and response to the surgical procedure. You may experience pain and discomfort after the operation but this will decrease over time and will not be severe. You will be given pain relief to minimise and control the discomfort.
A follow up appointment will be scheduled for around 2 weeks following your operation to check that the healing process is normal and that there are no complications. You should be able to return to your usual activities within 5 weeks and regular exercise in around 6 weeks.
Risks and Complications
Abdominal wall reconstruction is an invasive surgical procedure. As with any surgery, this practise is associated with certain risks such as:
Wound healing problems
You are at higher risk if you have existing skin conditions.
Resulting in symptoms such as redness and swelling, can be treated with antibiotics.
It is normal to experience some bruising around wound.
A collection of blood outside of the blood vessel resulting in pain, swelling, inflammation and bruising.
A pocket of liquid that can develop in the body post-surgery, resulting in symptoms such as swelling and leakage near the wound site.
Symptoms can include wheezing, constant cough and a tightness in the chest.
Allergic reaction to antibiotics or anaesthetics
Smptoms may include a rash and itchy skin.
Blood clots and excessive bleeding.
If any of these symptoms appear following the procedure, seek immediate medical attention.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a Consultant Surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation. Abdominal wall reconstruction surgery is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Abdominal Wall Reconstruction treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience