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The effect of component separation technique on quality of life (QOL) and surgical outcomes in complex open ventral hernia repair (OVHR)



Outcomes following OVHR may be affected by type of component separation. In this study, outcomes including QOL of patients undergoing OVHR were evaluated based on the utilization of transversus abdominis release (TAR), posterior rectus sheath release (PRSR) alone or in combination with external oblique release (EOR + PRSR).


A prospective, single-institution study following open ventral hernia repair involving component separation was performed from May 2005 to April 2015. Self-reported QOL outcomes were obtained preoperatively and at 1, 6 and 12 months postoperatively using the Carolinas Comfort Scale (CCS). A CCS of 2 (mild but bothersome discomfort) or greater was considered symptomatic. Comorbidities, complications, outcomes and CCS scores were reviewed. Univariate group comparisons were performed using Chi-square and Wilcoxon two-sample tests with statistical significance set at p < 0.05.


During the study period, 292 OVHRs with CST met inclusion criteria. Single-sided, different releases on opposite sides, etc., were eliminated. Demographics included: average age-57.9 ± 11.9 years, BMI-34.0 ± 7.9 kgm2, 53.2% female, 69% at least one prior hernia repair and average defect size-291.2 ± 236.2 cm2. Preoperative discomfort (82 vs. 75 vs. 79%, p = 0.77) and movement limitation (94 vs. 70 vs. 78%, p = 0.1) in TAR, PRSR and EOR + PRSR were similar. Average follow-up was 16.4 months. At 1, 6 and 12 months postoperatively, there was no difference in reported CCS pain scores, movement limitation or mesh sensation among the groups (p > 0.05). Comparing OVHR patients outcomes by CST type, TAR was associated with decreased wound infections compared to others (3.2 vs. 16.1 vs. 20%, p = 0.07) while recurrence rates were increased in EOR + PRSR compared to TAR and PRSR alone(8.4 vs. 3 vs. 1.8%, p = 0.03). Eighty percent of recurrences had a biologic mesh secondary to contaminated field during hernia repair. The other two recurrences were one which occurred superior to the mesh at a suture site and one who developed a wound infection postoperatively. Mesh infection rates were low (0 vs. 1.5 vs. 2.6%, p > 0.05) even including contaminated cases (0 vs. 2 vs. 3.6%, p > 0.05) and were statistically equivalent among all three techniques.


While QOL is not impacted by type of component separation on short- or long-term follow-up, the TAR may provide benefits such as decreased wound infection rates. Overall QOL had a significant improvement from preoperative regardless of type of component separation. When controlling for field contamination, there were no differences in recurrence or infection.

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Correspondence to Vedra A. Augenstein.

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Drs. Heniford and Augenstein have previously been awarded surgical research and education grants from W.L. Gore and Associates, Ethicon, Novadaq, Bard/Davol and LifeCell Inc. All other authors have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Blair, L.J., Cox, T.C., Huntington, C.R. et al. The effect of component separation technique on quality of life (QOL) and surgical outcomes in complex open ventral hernia repair (OVHR). Surg Endosc 31, 3539–3546 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-016-5382-z

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  • Hernia repair
  • Ventral hernia repair
  • Incisional hernia repair
  • Recurrence
  • Quality of life
  • Components separation
  • Transversus abdominis release
  • External oblique release