Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Overview

Abdominal wall reconstruction is very complex reconstructive surgery primarily used for hernia repair, scar repair, and repair of previous surgical damage. The abdomen is composed of many layers; tissue, fat, and muscle that protect the internal organs. These layers function as a protecting wall and stabilization.

The formation or recreation of hernias weaken the walls of the abdomen. This leads to tissue and muscles of the abdominal all to deteriorate. With highly skilled plastic and reconstructive surgeons, the abdominal muscles can be reconstructed and repaired by abdominal wall reconstructive surgery. In addition, plastic surgeons can rebuild skin and fascia if it is missing from previous surgery.

Abdominal wall reconstruction is sometimes performed with the help of general surgery or transplant surgery as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Sometimes excess tissue such as a panniculectomy will also be performed .

Planning and Recovery

What to Expect- You and your surgeon will discuss the procedure in detail so you understand how it will be performed, and you’ll have an opportunity to have your questions answered.

On the day of the procedure, you’ll receive general anesthesia via IV. Your surgeon will approach the defect with a vertical or horizontal scar. Once the abdominal skin is separated from the affected area, the weakened muscles and tissues will be reshaped placing them into a natural position. These layers sometimes will then be reinforced using surgical mesh to strengthen the muscles. Finalizing with sutures and closing the incision.

Recovery After Abdominal Wall Reconstruction- This is an in-patient procedure that requires patients to stay approximately five days following your reconstructive procedure. Our patients can return to their daily activities within two to five weeks, along with exercise six weeks after surgery. Although, please take primary instructions from your surgeon on when it would be best to return to regular daily activities, work, and exercise.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You may be a good candidate if:

  • You’re physically healthy
  • You’re not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have reoccurring hernias
  • You have infection that has developed after surgery
  • You have a wound that has developed after a hernia repair
  • You understand the risks that come along with surgery
  • The costs for abdominal wall reconstruction will vary based on the severity of diagnosis and procedures specific needs.

    Please discuss your coverage questions with your insurance carrier before your consultation.

    If you’re exploring options for insurance coverage, you may need to request a referral from your primary care doctor, depending on your health insurance plan. Check with your carrier to see if medical coverage is an option for you and, if so, whether a referral is required.

    As with any surgery, abdominal wall reconstruction does pose some risks, risks include:

  • Anesthesia complications
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Persistent pain
  • Possibility of revision surgery
  • Scarring
  • Scar tissue formation
  • Abdominal wall reconstruction is another option when traditional hernia repairs do not effectively treat the affected area and allows the repair of very complex hernias.

    Before surgery, you may be asked to get blood tests and take or adjust medications. If you smoke, quitting will help you heal faster and better avoid complications.

    You’ll also need to arrange for transportation to and from the surgery and for someone to stay with you the night after the surgery.
    For more information visit Patient Resources or Preparing for Surgery

    Meet Our Team

    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    Washington, DC
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    Towson, MD · Baltimore, MD · Washington, DC · Westminster, MD · Rosedale, MD · Bel Air, MD
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    Washington, DC · McLean, VA
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    Washington, DC · McLean, VA
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    Washington, DC
    Plastic Surgery
    McLean, VA · Washington, DC
    Plastic Surgery
    McLean, VA · Washington, DC
    Wound Care
    Baltimore, MD
    Plastic Surgery
    Baltimore, MD


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