Management of Traumatic Abdominal Wall Hernia

Lane, Christopher T.; Cinat, Marianne E.; Cohen, Allen J.
January 2003
American Surgeon;Jan2003, Vol. 69 Issue 1, p73
Academic Journal
Traumatic abdominal wall hernia (TAWH) can occur after blunt trauma and can be classified into low- or high-energy injuries. Low energy injuries occur after impact on a small blunt object. High-energy injuries are sustained during motor vehicle accidents or automobile versus pedestrian accidents. We present six cases of high-energy TAWH cases that were treated at our trauma center. All patients presented with varying degrees of abdominal tenderness with either abdominal skin ecchymosis or abrasions, which made physical examination difficult. CT scan confirmed the hernia in each patient. All six patients had associated injuries that required open repair. The abdominal wall defects were repaired primarily. Three patients (50%) in our series developed a postoperative wound infection or abscess. Review of the literature on low-energy TAWH shows no associated abdominal injuries. In conclusion distinction between low- and high-energy injury is imperative in the management of TAWH. Hernias following low-energy injuries can be repaired after local exploration through an incision overlying the defect. TAWHs following high-energy trauma should undergo exploratory laparotomy through a midline incision. The defect should be repaired primarily and prosthetics avoided because of the high incidence of postoperative infection.


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