This article is authored by HCA Healthcare UK.
Many people do not realise quite what an important role our abdominal walls play in everyday life.
Made up of multiple muscular and fascial layers and covered by fat and skin, it helps to house and protect some of the major organs in your body. It also supports your spine, and aids the performance of daily bodily functions, such as walking, climbing stairs, coughing and going to the toilet.
Sometimes, the abdominal wall can become weakened or develop a defect. This may be following surgery, pregnancy, or in points of pre-existing weakness such as the umbilicus (‘belly button’) or in the groin. These defects or weaknesses are called hernias, and can often require repair and/or restructuring of the entire abdominal wall.
Complex Abdominal Wall Reconstruction is a ground-breaking new surgical speciality, in which a number of different surgical techniques are used to restore the abdominal wall, reposition the abdominal tissues and attempt to move them back into their natural position. This may or may not involve augmentation of the tissues with a mesh, to reinforce the repair and the muscles, leaving patients with life-changing results.
Just ask one of our patients, Luke Matthews.
At the age of 32, Luke was travelling back from a holiday in Zambia, when he started experiencing excruciating stomach pain. Being an elite triathlete, Luke was incredibly fit and had no idea that he had an underlying defect in his intestines, which was about to make him gravely ill.
Sitting on the plane, Luke developed a stomach ache which he first dismissed as nothing serious. However, the pain in his stomach quickly worsened until he was in unbearable agony.
Luckily for Luke, his flight back had a stop-over in Kenya. When he touched down he was met by an ambulance and taken straight to hospital. Surgeons determined that he had a twisted large intestine and rushed him straight into theatre where he had a major operation to remove the affected section.
Five days later, Luke’s abdomen became distended and the agonising pain returned. Further surgery was undertaken and Luke continued to recover in hospital and was told he could soon go home. However, on the morning of his discharge, Luke once again woke up in excruciating pain, this time due to a ruptured spleen, and was rushed back into theatre for his third major operation. As anyone can imagine, three repeated openings of the abdomen took its toll, and Luke developed a complex incisional hernia.
Desperate to regain his health and ability to compete in triathlons, Luke set about researching the top surgeons and hospitals to treat this condition, and came across Mr Oliver Warren, at The Lister Hospital.
After flying over to London from Dubai for a consultation, Luke decided to undergo Abdominal Wall Reconstruction, carried out by a very specialist multi-disciplinary team, involving surgeons, anaesthetists and intensive care unit doctors.
Luke underwent the procedure, stayed in hospital for under a week, which was a success, and his abdominal wall is now stronger than ever. He has been rebuilding his strength by walking three times a day, is back in training and is aiming to complete a full Iron Man come July.
Oliver Warren, Consultant Surgeon at the Abdominal Wall and Hernia Unit at The Lister Hospital (part of HCA Healthcare UK), where Luke was treated, says:
“The Abdominal Wall and Hernia Unit at The Lister Hospital is the largest private unit in the UK, and comprises a team of world-leading abdominal, gastrointestinal and plastic surgeons, supported by specialist anaesthetists and physiotherapists. Our multidisciplinary approach allows us to manage all aspects of the abdominal wall, as well as giving the best cosmetic outcome for our patients.
Under our care, you’ll benefit from highly specialised surgeries and ongoing post-operative support – whilst also having access to the latest mesh and reconstructive dermal matrix technologies
Whether you need treatment for a recurring hernia, reconstructive surgery after other operations (like Luke) or wish to get your abdominal wall back to normal after childbirth, you’ll benefit from the highest quality multi-speciality care. This will result in good long term surgical outcome but also the best aesthetic result.”
For more information search HCA Abdominal Wall.