Background: Patients with severe obesity and complex abdominal wall hernias (CAWH) present a challenging clinical dilemma. Their body mass index (BMI) is often prohibitive of successful ventral hernia repair (VHR) and the CAWH presents technical challenges when pursuing bariatric surgery. Our hernia center policy is to refer patients with severe obesity for evaluation with the surgical weight loss program. This study describes outcomes of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) in patients with both severe obesity and CAWH. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on data prospectively collected between 2014 and 2020. CAWH patients referred for and undergoing LSG were included. Revisional bariatric surgery patients were excluded. The dataset was augmented with operative time, BMI changes, length of stay (LOS), hernia characteristics, postoperative complications, time from referral to weight loss surgery, and time from LSG to VHR. Results: Twenty patients (10 males, mean age 54.3 years) met inclusion criteria. Mean BMI at LSG was 45.6 ± 6.1 kg/m2. Mean hernia area was 494.9 ± 221.2 cm2 and 90% had hernia extension into the subxiphoid and/or epigastric regions. Mean time from bariatric referral to LSG was 10.5 ± 5.4 months. Mean LSG operative time was 121.2 ± 50.3 min, and mean LOS was 1.6 ± 0.8 days. One patient had postoperative bleeding necessitating laparoscopic re-exploration. There were no readmissions. Sixteen patients subsequently underwent VHR on average13.5 ± 11.7 months later and on average 22.6 ± 12.5 months after initial hernia consultation. Two patients had a hernia-related complication between the period of initial hernia consultation and ultimate repair. Mean BMI was 37.5 ± 7.5 kg/m2 (mean 20.7 ± 12.3% decrease, p < 0.0001) at mean follow-up of 27.2 ± 17.2 months. Conclusions: LSG can be performed successfully even in patients with CAWH. Outcomes do not appear to differ significantly from typical patients undergoing LSG. Further study with larger cohorts is warranted to better delineate complication rates in this population as well as to determine long-term outcomes.
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