Rationale and Technique for Measuring Abdominal Wall Tension in Hernia Repair

Am Surg. 2018 Sep 1;84(9):1446-1449.


We describe a method to measure abdominal wall tension during hernia surgery and evaluate a possible correlation between hernia defect width and abdominal wall tension. After Institutional Review Board approval and informed consent, a prospective trial to measure intraabdominal tension was undertaken (May 2013 through March 2017). Tension measurements were obtained using tensiometers. Total tension, hernia defect width, and surgeon's estimation of tension were recorded. Correlation between defect width and total abdominal wall tension was assessed using multivariate analysis and a multiple linear regression analysis. An r-squared value > 0.6 was considered significant. Fifty-nine patients underwent hernia repair with concomitant tension measurements obtained at surgery. The average patient age was 61 years (range 29-81 years), 85 per cent were white, and 56 per cent female. The average total tension was 6.7 pounds (range 0.2-22 pounds) and average defect width was 8.6 cm (range 2-25 cm). The surgeon rated the fascia to be excellent in 15 per cent, good in 58 per cent, and fair in 27 per cent. The average estimation of tension by the surgeon was 5 pounds (range 2-10 pounds). We found no correlation between hernia defect size and total abdominal wall tension and no correlation between the surgeon-estimated tension and objectively measured tension. We found no correlation between the width of the hernia defect and tension associated with approximating the midline. Further study regarding the practicality and usefulness of abdominal wall tension measurements during hernia surgery is needed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / pathology*
  • Abdominal Wall / physiopathology*
  • Abdominal Wall / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hernia, Ventral / surgery*
  • Herniorrhaphy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress, Mechanical*
  • Surface Tension
  • Tensile Strength / physiology