Repair of Lower Abdomen Defects

Final port position for a LLQ hernia


For right-handed surgeons, a da Vinci (dV) prograsp (or fenestrated bipolar) is placed in arm #2, 12 mm 30° up camera in the camera port, and the dV monopolar scissors are placed in arm #1.


The dV needle drive is used primarily to close the hernia defect as well as affix the mesh to the abdominal wall.

Essential Steps


The essential steps of robotic hernia repair are analogous to that of conventional laparoscopic repair. Adhesiolysis of the abdominal wall to isolate the hernia defect must be performed meticulously. The dV platform facilitates adhesiolysis through its 3-D visualization, tremorless precision, and superior ergonomics. For direct bowel handling, the dV fenestrated bipolar grasper results in less trauma to serosal tissue. It is important to emphasize the loss of haptic feedback when performing robotic surgery. This drawback is overcome by the improved ability to see individual stretch fibers. Special attention is therefore required to prevent inadvertent bowel injury and excessive bleeding by way of atraumatic handling and judicious use of cautery. Clearing the entire abdominal wall of adhesions is mandatory to ensure complete evaluation. In dense adhesions the robotic harmonic scalpel may facilitate hemostasis.

Primary Closure of the Defect

Successful primary closure of the defect is facilitated by the use of the barbed V-loc suture (Medtronic). The ability primarily to close defects without component separation is based on the principles of Ramirez regarding width and location of the hernia defect. Of course this is based on open technique and not working against the forces of pneumoperitoneum . As a general rule, <10 cm wide defects are amenable to primary closure but also depend on body habits and age, being easier to close larger defects in the older population. Desufflating the abdominal cavity to 6–8 mm Hg pneumoperitoneum is often necessary. The suture is introduced into the intra-abdominal cavity through the 8 mm dV trocar. This is facilitated by skeeting the needle facilitating both introduction and removal.

Mesh Placement and Fixation

A tissue-separating mesh is used when placed in the intraperitoneal onlay position. The size of the mesh upholds the principle of maintaining an at least 5 cm overlap in all directions. For larger defects primarily closed under certain tension, a wider mesh is utilized. The mesh is rolled and introduced through the 12 mm camera trocar site or assistant port if using a 12 mm.

There are myriad options and permutations of the technique to secure the mesh to the abdominal wall including reproducing the standard LVHR technique with a combination of tacks and sutures, or securing the mesh to the abdominal wall with circumferential suture fixation [19].

With the mesh positioned on the abdominal wall by using a scroll technique or the self-expanding mesh device (Echo mesh, Bard/Davol), a full-length nonabsorbable suture (00 or 0 prolene ethicon) is introduced into the intra-abdominal cavity through the trocar of the needle holder. The external end of the suture situated outside the trocar is secured with a hemostat. This technique avoids excessive suture in the intra-abdominal cavity thereby facilitating fixation. In a running fashion, the suture is then placed around the circumference of the mesh. This may be done with one or two sutures in the larger meshes >30 cm.

Upon completion of mesh fixation, the robot is undocked. Only 10/12 mm trocar fascial sites are closed with a suture passer.

Robotic TAPP Ventral Hernia Repair

Exploiting the layers of the abdominal wall is made possible by the precision the dV robot affords [16]. Although possible to do with conventional laparoscopy, working high on the anterior abdominal wall remains technically demanding and ergonomically challenging [20, 21]. Placing mesh in the preperitoneal space obviates the need for a more costly tissue-separating mesh, allows the mesh to incorporate directly on fascia [22] thereby decreasing the need for sutures or tack fixation that cause postoperative pain, and avoids complications inherent with leaving mesh in the intraperitoneal position, that is, bowel erosion or fistula [23, 24].

The robotic TAPP VHR was developed based on the TAPP inguinal hernia repair and involves dissection of the preperitoneal plane, reduction of the hernia sac, primary closure of the defect, placement of mesh with minimal fixation, and reperitonealization of the mesh.

Essential Steps

Patient positioning, trocar placement, docking, and instrumentation are analogous to the above-described procedure. For larger hernias trocars are placed above the umbilicus.

Developing a Preperitoneal Plane

The peritoneum is incised at least 5 cm proximal to the hernia defect. A preperitoneal plane is then developed widely with a combination of blunt and sharp techniques. Care is taken to avoid disrupting the posterior fascia. In the event the posterior fascia is breached and the rectus muscle is visible, it is subsequently closed with suture. The hernia sac is reduced and dissection continues distal to the hernia allowing for placement of an adequately sized mesh. Wide distal dissection allows for the creation of a large flap in which to reperitonealize the mesh completely.

Primary Closure of the Defect

The hernia defect is closed with 0 or 1 V-lock running barbed permanent or long- term absorbable suture (Covidien). Disinflation of the abdominal cavity may need to be employed to facilitate closure.


Peritoneal incision


Defect closure after preperitoneal dissection

Mesh Placement, Fixation, and Reperitonealization

The mesh is introduced into the intra-abdominal cavity and placed flat on the abdominal wall. A large overlap of the closed defect (5 cm minimum) is ensured. The mesh is secured to the abdominal wall with four absorbable tacks (Securestraptm, Ethicon) placed at the cardinal points of the mesh or with sutures as per the surgeon’s preference. Once adequate fixation and hemostasis are achieved, the peritoneal flap is re-approximated to cover the mesh with a continuous 2–0 PDS running suture.


Mesh fixation in the preperitoneal space


Peritoneal closure with absorbable tacks

Suprapubic Hernias

The challenges of laparoscopic suprapubic hernia repair include the need for mobilization of the bladder, creating a pelvic dissection within the spaces of Bogros and Retzius, and fixating the mesh along the pelvic rim [25]. Robotic preperitoneal repair facilitates bladder mobilization, visualization of the pelvic rim, and creation of a large space to accommodate overlapping mesh that is more evident in recurrent hernias or in patients with previous open prostatectomy.

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Mar 26, 2018 | Posted by in ABDOMINAL MEDICINE | Comments Off on Repair of Lower Abdomen Defects
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