Laparoscopic repair of complex ventral hernia facilitated by pre-operative chemical component relaxation using Botulinum Toxin A

K. E. Elstner, A. S. W. Jacombs, J. W. Read, O. Rodriguez, M. Edye, P. H. Cosman, A. N. Dardano, A. Zea, T. Boesel, D. J. Mikami, C. Craft, N. Ibrahim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The operative management of complex ventral hernia poses a formidable challenge, despite recent advances in surgical techniques. Recurrence rates after complex ventral hernia repair remain high, and increase with each failed attempt. This study examines the effect of pre-operative abdominal wall chemical component relaxation using Botulinum Toxin A (BTA) to induce temporary flaccid paralysis in order to facilitate laparoscopic repair of large complex ventral hernia. 

Methods: This is a prospective evaluation of 27 patients from January 2013 to August 2015 who underwent ultrasound guided BTA injections to the lateral abdominal wall muscles prior to elective complex ventral hernia repair. Non-contrast serial CT imaging was obtained pre- and post-BTA injection to measure change in fascial defect size and abdominal wall muscle thickness and length. Fascial defects were closed and hernias repaired using laparoscopic or laparoscopic-assisted intra-peritoneal onlay mesh (IPOM) techniques. 

Results: 27 patients received pre-operative BTA injections which were well tolerated with no complications. Comparison of pre-BTA and post-BTA CT imaging demonstrated a significant increase in mean length of the lateral abdominal wall from 15.7 cm pre-BTA to 19.9 cm post-BTA (p < 0.0001), with mean unstretched length gain of 4.2 cm/side (range 0–11.7 cm/side). All hernias were surgically reduced and repaired with mesh, with no early recurrences. 

Conclusion: Pre-operative administration of BTA is a safe and effective technique in the pre-operative preparation of patients undergoing elective complex ventral hernia repair. This technique lengthens and relaxes the laterally retracted abdominal muscles and enables laparoscopic closure of large complex ventral hernia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Botulinum Toxin A
  • Chemical component relaxation
  • Complex ventral hernia
  • Incisional hernia


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