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J Visc Surg. 2012 Oct;149(5 Suppl):e32-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jviscsurg.2012.04.002. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

Umbilical hernias and cirrhose.

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Service de chirurgie hépatobiliaire et pancréatique, Hôpital Beaujon, 100, boulevard du Général-Leclerc, 92110 Clichy, France.


Umbilical hernia (UH) is the most frequent abdominal wall complication of ascites in cirrhotic patients. Treatment to control ascites, which mainly consists of repeated paracentesis or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), is mandatory; otherwise the risk of hernia recurrence is very high. Nowadays, surgical portosystemic shunts are rarely performed. Classically, hernia repair was offered only to patients with symptomatic UH, but presently, even if the hernia is minimally symptomatic, there is tendency to perform elective repair to avoid emergency surgery for complications associated with very high mortality and morbidity rates (rupture and strangulation). If liver transplantation is indicated, treatment of UH can be performed simultaneously, unless the hernia is highly symptomatic or complicated or if the waiting time on the transplantation list is long. During repair, necrotic skin tissue should be excised; the use of prosthetic material (if the defect is large) is possible with a low risk of infection as long as ascites is sterile. The advantage of laparoscopic repair of large UH is to avoid any skin incision (precluding ascitic fluid leak) and avoid exposing prosthetic mesh to necrotic infected tissue. If the defect is small, UH repair can be performed under local anesthesia.

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