The effect of increasing body mass index on wound complications in open ventral hernia repair with mesh

Am J Surg. 2019 Sep;218(3):560-566. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2019.01.022. Epub 2019 Jan 25.


Background: There is a paucity of data delineating the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and wound complications. We investigated the association between BMI and wound morbidity following open ventral hernia repair with mesh (OVHR).

Design: Patients undergoing elective OVHR were identified within the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative. Multivariate logistic regression identified predictors of 30-day surgical site infection (SSI) and surgical site occurrences requiring procedural intervention (SSOPI). BMI was treated as a continuous variable in the models.

Results: 8949 patients were included (median age 58, median BMI 31.3 kg/m2, median defect width of 7 cm). Repairs typically included synthetic mesh (89%), placed as a sublay (70%). SSI rate was 4.5% and SSOPI was 6.7%. BMI was associated with increased relative log-odds for SSI (p = 0.01) and SSOPI (<0.0001), with a proportional increase in relative log-odds for complications according to escalations in BMI.

Conclusion: Escalating BMI progressively increases relative log-odds for SSI and SSOPI after OVHR. Further studies are necessary to determine whether preoperative weight loss can reduce the impact of this association.

Keywords: Body mass index; Hernia; Infection; Obesity; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Hernia, Ventral / surgery*
  • Herniorrhaphy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Mesh*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*