The wall of the abdomen does more than contain our internal organs. It stabilizes our core, supporting the muscles of the back, which are critical to our walking and lifting. Of all of the muscle groups in the human body, the muscles of the abdomen are among the most used and least appreciated.
Sometimes, after a traumatic event or a major surgery (such as a kidney or intestinal transplant) the abdominal wall develops a dangerous swelling called a compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome can cut off the supply of blood to the muscle, causing it to die. While many patches have been developed to re-close the abdomen after compartment syndrome, the only completely effective and functional method of re-closing the abdomen is to transplant the abdominal wall and muscles from a deceased donor.
The first abdominal wall transplants were performed in 1994. Today, this procedure is life-saving for patients who have suffered a catastrophic abdominal compartment syndrome. Abdominal wall transplant is not considered an elective procedure.
As with any transplant, patients who undergo reconstructive transplant of the abdominal wall need to take medications to suppress their immune systems, to keep from rejecting their grafts.
If you have suffered a traumatic injury or illness and are interested in exploring reconstructive transplant as an option, please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.