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Use of autologous dermal flap as mesh coverage in the treatment of large abdominal-wall defect in patients following massive weight loss: presentation of a novel surgical technique

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Reconstruction of large abdominal-wall defects (AWD) in patients after massive weight loss (MWL) can be challenging. Patients are left with a sizeable amount of excess skin and subcutaneous tissue which can serve as a natural and readily available source of mesh coverage. In this article, we present our experience in the reconstruction of large AWD in patients after MWL, using autogenous dermal flaps combined with a synthetic mesh.


All patients with large AWD and MWL, diagnosed between January 2012 and December 2016, were considered to be candidates for the procedure. During the operation, an attempt was made to attain full closure of the defect above the mesh. In those patients for whom such closure was not possible, a dermal flap technique was used. Patients were closely monitored for at least 1 year. Outcome measures included early and late postoperative complications. Data are presented as mean ± standard deviation (SD).


Over the study period, a total of 14 patients underwent a surgery involving combined mesh and dermal flap technique. Early post-operative complications included three patients who suffered from minor wound disruption and were treated with local dressings. One patient had an abdominal-wall hematoma that required an evacuation. Two patients suffered from an epidermal cyst and chronic sinuses that required surgical debridement. None of the patients experienced intra-abdominal complication, respiratory failure, or required ICU treatment. No mesh contamination or hernia recurrence was observed during the follow-up period of 22.25 ± 6.4 months.


Autologous dermal flap combined with mesh technique may serve as an effective surgical alternative in patients after MWL with large AWD for whom full muscular coverage of the underlying prosthesis is not possible.

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Bitterman, N., Ben-Nun, O., Calderon, N. et al. Use of autologous dermal flap as mesh coverage in the treatment of large abdominal-wall defect in patients following massive weight loss: presentation of a novel surgical technique . Hernia (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10029-020-02127-4

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  • Dermal flap
  • Hernia
  • Mesh
  • Abdominal-wall reconstruction
  • Weight loss