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The purpose of this protocol is to determine the safety and efficacy of abdominal wall transplantation as a treatment for the reconstruction of abdominal wall defects. Abdominal wall transplantation may be performed alone or in combination with another transplant.
Background: A detailed study of the biomechanical changes before and after abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR) has not been performed. Changes in abdominal wall tension and intra-abdominal pressure have physiological consequences on respiratory and cardiology function. AWR surgeons currently do not know if they are applying too much tension when re-aligning the abdominal wall muscles during AWR. Too much tension is likely to cause respiratory and cardiac post-operative complications. The investigators propose to study the perioperative changes in abdominal biomechanics and cardiorespiratory physiology after AWR. In addition, investigators will also analyze the pre-operative patient CT scan to see if there any CT predictors of post-operative cardiorespiratory complications and hernia recurrence. The researchers hypothesize that there is a threshold value or force at which ventral hernias are repaired 'too tight' subjecting the patient to the increased risk of recurrence and cardiorespiratory complications. Method: An in depth biomechanical and physiological study of 18-22 participants with midline ventral hernias will be carried out. Ventral hernias at least 5cm in width and only those in which primary fascial closure have been achieved will be included. Any operative technique used to achieve primary fascial closure will be included. Biomechanical and physiological measurements will be taken at five separate stages during the course of the patients' abdominal wall reconstruction. The final lung function tests, taken six weeks post op, will be compared to the patients' pre-operative tests. Meticulous attention will be paid to the study protocol making sure that in each patient the measurements are all taken at the same time and under the same conditions. Discussion: This full biomechanical and physiological work up will enable AWR surgeons to assess when an AWR patient is subjected to too much biomechanical and physiological stress. The abdominal wall tension and strain will be measured to see if this predicts post complications and hernia recurrence.