For citation purposes: Johnson TG, Von SJ, Hope WW. Clinical anatomy of the abdominal wall: hernia surgery. OA Anatomy 2014 Jan 25;2(1):3.


Clinical Anatomy

Clinical anatomy of the abdominal wall: hernia surgery

TG Johnson, SJ Von, WW Hope

Authors affiliations

Department of Surgery, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, 2131 South 17th Street, PO Box 9025, Wilmington, NC 28401, USA

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The surgeon’s understanding of the anatomy of the anterior abdominal wall is critical for successful hernia repair. Although the clinical anatomy of the inguinal region has traditionally been a focus for hernia surgeons, increasing attention is now applied to abdominal wall clinical anatomy for abdominal wall reconstruction. The abdominal wall comprises several different layers encompassing skin, subcutaneous tissue, fascia, muscle and peritoneum. This review focuses on a discussion of the anatomy and neurovascular supply of the abdominal wall with a special emphasis on hernia repair techniques based on anatomical considerations. Techniques to aid in fascial closure and anatomic planes for placement of mesh are reviewed.


Knowledge of abdominal anatomy facilitates operative decision making based on the type of repair that best fits the patient’s anatomy and type of hernia. Evolution of hernia repair techniques continues as knowledge of anatomy and function of the abdominal wall increases.

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