Natural orifice surgery has evolved from a preclinical setting into a common occurrence at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). With close to 40 transvaginal cases, we have become comfortable with this technique and are exploring other indications. One of the perceived advantages in natural orifice surgery is the potential reduction in the incidence of hernia formation. Patients with abdominal wall hernias may be at increased risk of forming additional hernias at incision sites. In addition, patients with recurrent incisional hernias may, likewise, be at increased risk. We believe that reducing or eliminating abdominal wall incisions may be of benefit in the repair of abdominal wall hernias. Here, we describe what we believe to be the first natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgical (NOTES) approach to the repair of an abdominal wall hernia.
The patient is a 38-year-old female with a painful recurrent umbilical hernia, previously repaired 8 years prior with a polypropylene-based mesh. The patient underwent a transvaginal recurrent umbilical hernia repair with one other 5-mm port in the abdomen for safety.
The patient had no intraoperative or postoperative complications. At 5 months follow up, the patient had no complaints, no evidence of hernia recurrence, and was very pleased with her result.
The repair of primary and incisional hernias of the ventral abdominal wall via a transvaginal approach is technically feasible, and the result of our initial case was exceptional. However, there are still significant obstacles which must be addressed before this approach can be widely utilized. These obstacles include safe entrance into the abdominal cavity via a transvaginal approach, the proper mesh to be placed during the repair, and the risk of infection.