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Incisions for open abdominal surgery

Jason S Mizell, MD, FACS
Section Editor
Hilary Sanfey, MD
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


The success of any open surgical procedure requires, in part, a wisely chosen incision based upon sound anatomic principles.

Incisions for open abdominal surgery will be reviewed here. Closure of the abdominal wall and complications of abdominal wall incisions are discussed separately. (See "Principles of abdominal wall closure" and "Complications of abdominal surgical incisions".)


Choice of incision — The most important goal when choosing an abdominal incision is to provide adequate exposure for the anticipated procedure while taking into account the possibility that the planned procedure may change depending upon intraoperative findings or complications. The incision should interfere minimally with abdominal wall function by preserving important abdominal structures and heal with adequate strength to reduce the risk of wound disruption and subsequent incisional hernia. (See "Anatomy of the abdominal wall" and "Complications of abdominal surgical incisions".)

Additional considerations in selecting the type of incision include:

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 03, 2017.
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