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Hernia. 2010 Dec;14(6):561-7. doi: 10.1007/s10029-010-0704-x. Epub 2010 Jul 27.

Rives-Stoppa incisional hernia repair combined with laparoscopic separation of abdominal wall components: a novel approach to complex abdominal wall closure.

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  • 1Norman M. Rich Department of Surgery, National Naval Medical Center, The Uniformed Services University, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MA 20814, USA.



The Rives-Stoppa incisional hernia repair is the gold standard for mesh repair of complex incisional hernias. The risk of infection can be reduced if fascia is closed over the prosthetic mesh. Fascial closure in large defects may require extensive dissection and can result in devascularization of the overlying skin and denervation of the abdominal wall musculature. Laparoscopic components separation minimizes these risks while facilitating anterior fascial closure. The combined technique of Rives-Stoppa repair augmented by laparoscopic separation of abdominal wall components has not previously been reported.


We retrospectively reviewed our initial experience with this combined technique for incisional hernia repair. A Rives-Stoppa incisional hernia repair is performed with mesh placed in the retromuscular position. If the anterior fascia cannot be closed, a laparoscopic separation of abdominal wall components is performed to facilitate fascial closure without creation of skin flaps.


Six patients were identified. Three patients developed hernias following laparotomy from severe injuries sustained during combat. The other patients included hernia after esophagectomy, retroperitoneal liposarcoma resection, and complicated diverticulitis. Average defect size was 270 cm(2). Complete primary fascial closure anterior to the mesh was achieved in 66% of the patients. No mortalities occurred and at short term follow-up no incisional hernia recurrences have developed. Early post operative complications included a superficial skin infection not involving mesh and a recurrent enterocutaneous fistula.


The authors conclude that Rives-Stoppa repair augmented by laparoscopic components separation is an innovative method for reconstruction of complex abdominal wall defects. Laparoscopic components separation allows fascial closure to be achieved anterior to the mesh in large incisional hernias, which may reduce wound infection rates.

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