Traumatic Abdominal Wall Hernia in Children: A Systematic Review

Christina M. Theodorou, Sarah C. Stokes, Alana L. Beres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Traumatic abdominal wall hernia (TAWH) in children is an uncommon injury and most commonly occurs after blunt abdominal trauma. There is no consensus on the management of these rare cases. We performed a systematic review of the literature to describe injuries, management, and outcomes. Materials and methods: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a systematic literature search of PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and Google Scholar was performed to identify English-language publications of blunt TAWH in patients <18 y old. Conflicts were resolved by consensus. Data were collected on demographics, associated injuries, management, and outcomes. Results: A total of 71 articles were reviewed with 100 cases of TAWH. A total of 82.5% of patients were male, and the median age was 9 y old (range 2-15). Injury by bicycle handlebars was most common (72%) followed by motor vehicle collision (14%). Forty patients had intraabdominal injuries, most commonly bowel (70%) or mesentery (37.5%). Rate of intraabdominal injury was significantly higher in patients with injuries due to nonbicycle handlebar injuries when compared with bicycle handlebar injuries (60.7% versus 33.3%, P = 0.02). Most patients were managed operatively (85%), most commonly via laparotomy (68/85, 80%), with six laparoscopic repairs and five laparoscopic converted to open repairs. There were three reported complications and no recurrences over a median of follow-up of 5 mo in patients who underwent repair. Conclusions: Pediatric TAWH is a rare injury with a high rate of intraabdominal injuries, particularly when due to high-impact mechanisms such as motor vehicle collision. Although open repair is more commonly performed, laparoscopic repair has been described with success. Recurrence rates appear low, but follow-up has been short term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Abdominal wall hernia
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Systematic review
  • TAWH
  • Traumatic hernia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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