Successful surgical closure of the abdominal wall after either combined or isolated intestinal transplantation may present a challenging dilemma for the plastic and reconstructive surgeon because of the following factors: restricted volume of the recipient abdominal cavity; donor-recipient size discrepancies as expressed by the donor to recipient weight ratio; and significant intraoperative edema. The purpose of this investigation is to present clinical experience with 51 consecutive patients who underwent a total of 57 sequential intestinal transplantations at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital. A retrospective chart review of 36 pediatric (63 percent) and 21 adult (37 percent) transplantations was performed. Age of the pediatric population ranged from 1 month to 13 years (mean, 2.4 years) and of the adult population from 22 to 55 years (mean, 33.5 years). Several diagnostic classifications necessitated organ transplantation. Because of insufficient donor graft size for the recipient abdominal cavity in 19 transplantations (33 percent), several technical modifications were used to achieve anatomic and functional abdominal wall closure in all patients. In summary, the plastic and reconstructive surgeon should have a significant role in the comprehensive planning and management of abdominal wall closure in this challenging group of patients.
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