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Management of adult incisional hernias at the University of Maiduguri teaching hospital.

B M Gali
A C Madziga
H U Na'aya
T Yawe


Background: Incisional hernias (IH) represent a breakdown or loss of continuity of a fascial closure. They are thus unique as the only external wall hernias that are iatrogenic in aetiology. Incisional hernias are not uncommon complications of laparotomy closure with reported incidence of 2 to 11%.

Objectives: To review our experience,with incisional hernaia identify possible risk factors and proffer preventable strategies.

Patients and methods: All case records of adult patients managed with IH at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital between January 1995 and December 2004 were retrieved from the Medical Records Department. Relevant data on age, sex, type and institution of index surgery (General Hospital or Private Hospital), premorbid factors, type of repair, post-operative complications were extracted. Case records with inadequate information were excluded.

Results: Between January 1995 and December 2004 a total of 440 patients with external abdominal hernias were treated at UMTH. Out of these: 38 (11.6%) were Incisional hernias and form the basis of this study. Their ages ranged between 18 and 80 years, with peak age range of 40-49 years. There were 6 males and 32 females giving a male to female ratio of 1:5.3. The commonest index surgeries were caesarean section in 12 patients (31.6%) and appendicectomy 10 patients ( 26.3%). Of the index surgeries 26 (68.4) and 10 (26.3) were performed in general and private hospitals respectively. Only 2(5.3%) were done at UMTH. Wound sepsis, in 18patients ( 47.4%), postoperative cough, 8 ( 21.1%) and obesity 6 ( 15.8%) were the commonest risk factors. Poor surgical technique was found in 36 patients (94.7%) Most of the patients presented late; 8(21.1%) with recurrence and 6(15.8%) were giant in size. All but one were successfully repaired. Only one (2.3%) had recurrence. There was no mortality.

Conclusions: Incisional hernias are not uncommon constituting 11.6% of all adult external abdominal wall hernias repaired at UMTH. Most of the causes are preventable with 94.7% of the index surgery done at peripheral hospitals where poor surgical technique was common to all. There is urgent need to re-train our general duty doctors on proper surgical techniques of abdominal wound closure.

Keywords: Pattern and problems, Management, Incisional hernia, Experiences, UMTH

Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol. 10 (3) 2007 pp. 184-187

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eISSN: 2229-7731
print ISSN: 1119-3077