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World J Surg. 2002 Oct;26(10):1277-81. Epub 2002 Sep 4.

Spigelian hernias: repair and outcome for 81 patients.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street, SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Spigelian hernia is a rare partial abdominal wall defect. The frequent lack of physical findings along with vague associated abdominal complaints makes the diagnosis elusive. A retrospective review of Mayo Clinic patients was performed to find all patients who had undergone surgical repair of a Spigelian hernia from 1976 to 1997. Patients were scrutinized for presentation, work-up, therapy, and outcome. The goal of this study was to obtain long-term outcome. The study was set in a tertiary referral center. There were 76 patients in whom 81 Spigelian hernias were repaired. Symptoms most commonly included an intermittent mass (n = 29), pain (n = 20), pain with a mass (n = 22), and bowel obstruction (n = 5). Five patients were asymptomatic. Preoperative imaging was performed in 21 patients and correctly diagnosed the hernia in 15. Spigelian hernias were repaired by primary suture closure (n = 75), mesh (n = 5), and laparoscopic (n = 1) techniques. Eight patients (10%) required emergent operations. Thirteen hernias (17%) were found to be incarcerated at the time of the operation. Overall mean follow-up for the 76 patients was 8 years, with three hernia recurrences identified. Spigelian hernia is rare and requires a high index of suspicion given the lack of consistent symptoms and signs. An astute physician may couple a proper history and physical examination with preoperative imaging to secure the diagnosis. Mesh and laparoscopic repairs are viable alternatives to the durable results of standard primary closure. Given the high rate of incarceration/strangulation, the diagnosis of Spigelian hernia is an indication for surgical repair.

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