Background: Incisional hernias (IH) after orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) are challenging due to their concurrent midline and subcostal defects adjacent to bony prominences in the context of lifelong immunosuppression. To date, no studies evaluated the posterior component separation with transversus abdominis release (TAR) to repair complex IH after OLT. We aim to report the outcomes of TAR in this scenario.
Study design: OLT patients who underwent open, elective IH repair with TAR performed at two centers and with a minimum of 1-year follow-up were identified in the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative (AHSQC). Outcomes included 30-day surgical site infections (SSI), surgical site occurrences requiring procedural intervention (SSOPI), unplanned readmissions, reoperations, and hernia recurrence.
Results: Forty-four patients were identified (mean age 60 ± 8, 75% male, median BMI 30.7 kg/m2) at two centers. Median hernia width was 20 cm [IQR 15-28] and 98% (43) were clean cases. Retromuscular synthetic mesh was used in all cases, and 93% (41) achieved fascial closure with no intraoperative complications. Postoperatively, there were 5 SSIs (4 deep, 1 superficial), 6 SSOPIs (4 wound opening, 1 debridement, 1 seroma drainage), four (9%) readmissions, and 3 (7%) reoperations. One patient developed a mesh infection that did not require mesh excision. After a median follow-up of 13 months [IQR 12-17], there were 11 (25%) recurrences; 8 due to central mesh fractures (CMF). Seven recurrences have been repaired either laparoscopically or using an onlay.
Conclusions: In a challenging cohort of immunosuppressed patients with large IH, TAR was shown to have acceptable medium-term results, but high recurrence rate driven by CMF. Further studies investigating the mechanism of central mesh fractures are necessary to reduce these recurrences.
Keywords: Incisional hernia; Liver transplant; Mesh fracture; TAR; Transversus abdominis release; Ventral hernia.