Large myelomeningocele repair
31 December 2019 (online)
Background: Wound closure is accomplished in most cases of myelomeningocele (MMC) by undermining of the skin edges surrounding the defect. However, large defects cannot be closed reliably by this simple technique. Due to the technical challenge associated with large MMC, surgeons have devised different methods for repairing large defects. In this paper, we report our experience of managing large defects, which we believe bears a direct relationship to decrease the incidence of wound complications. Materials and Methods: Forty children with large MMCs underwent surgical repair and represent our experience. We recommend using all hairy skin around the defect as a way to decrease the tension on the edges of the wound and the possible subsequent necrosis. It is our experience that vertical incision on one or two flanks parallel to the midline can decrease the tension of the wound. Moreover, ventriculo-peritoneal shunting for children who developed hydrocephalus was performed simultaneously, which constitutes another recommendation for preventing fluid collection and build up of pressure on the wound. Results: Patients in this study were in the age range of 2 days to 8 years. The most common location of MMC was in the thoracolumbar area. All but four patients had severe weakness in lower extremities. We used as much hairy skin around the MMC sac as possible in all cases. Vertical incisions on one or both flanks and simultaneous shunt procedure were performed in 36 patients. We treated children with large MMC defects with acceptable tension-free closure. Nonetheless, three patients developed superficial skin infection and partial wound dehiscence, and they were managed conservatively. Conclusions: We recommend using all hairy skin around the MMC defect for closure of large defects. In cases that were expected to be at a higher risk to develop dehiscence release incisions on one or two flanks towards the fascia were found to be useful. Simultaneous ventriculo-peritoneal shunting is also recommended in this cohort of patients, according to our experience. These recommendations neither prolong the time of surgery nor increase the cost, but facilitate a successful closure.
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