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NCBI Bookshelf. Leandra A. Jelinek ; Mark W. Authors Leandra A. Jelinek 1 ; Mark W. Jones 2. A well-planned surgical incision is one of the most crucial steps in any surgical procedure. It is always essential to determine the proper location of the incision for optimal visualization and to always keep in mind anatomy, and blood supply that may suffer compromise.

Exact placement and size of the incision utilized are also crucial for aesthetical reasons. If it is a small procedure that requires only minimal entrance into the abdomen, then smaller more strategically placed incisions are the best choice. However, if there is massive trauma, a large organ to be removed, or the surgery is exploratory, then a larger incision may be performed to gain the most exposure possible.

This article will explore different types of incisions, indications for each, as well as important anatomical considerations. The anterior abdominal wall contains several muscle layers, fascial layers, and vessels. The midline of the abdomen is where the rectus abdominis is with the linea alba an avascular fascial plane dividing the rectus into two sides.

The lateral abdominal wall consists of the external and internal oblique muscles, and the transversus abdominis. The blood supply to the anterior abdominal wall consists of the inferior epigastric, the superficial inferior epigastric, the superior epigastric, branches of the internal mammary arteries, and the perforating branches of the obliques. Between each muscle layer is a designated facial layer to provide support and structure to the musculature.

Also known as the laparotomy incision, or celiotomy, this is the most traditional of surgical incisions. Midline incisions may be small and applied anywhere on the vertical linea alba. However, they can also extend from the xiphoid process to the pubic bone. This location is a mostly avascular plane and does not impose a great risk to the blood supply. There is rarely nerve damage in this region. However, scarring will be present and may be significant if performing multiple operations through the same incisional scar.

This incision generally provides the best visualization and intra-abdominal access and is commonly used for exploratory procedures and traumas. The Kocher incision is a subcostal incision on the right side of the abdomen used for open exposure of the gallbladder and biliary tree.

This incision is just inferior and parallel to the subcostal margin. Unlike the midline incision, it is not an avascular plane. The incision extends through the anterior rectus fascia, rectus muscle, internal oblique, transverse abdominis, transversalis fascia, and peritoneum.

The blood supply of the abdominal wall that is interrupted is the distal aspect of the superior epigastric as well as the inferior epigastric, perforating intercostal arteries, and external oblique perforators. This incision is associated with a slight increase in pain during the post-operative phase due to the severing of the rectus muscle.

The incision closure is after the procedure in a layered fashion by suturing and approximating fascial layers. The para-median incision serves to expose lateral viscera. It is made 3cm, on average, lateral to the midline.

The skin and subcutaneous tissue must be incised, the anterior rectus sheath and the rectus muscle is deflected laterally if possible to expose the posterior rectus sheath if above the arcuate line. Upon passing the rectus is entry to the peritoneum. Peripheral branches of the inferior epigastric will undergo ligation. This incision provides good exposure for performing open appendectomies and is made obliquely at the McBurney point, two thirds from the umbilicus to the anterior superior iliac spine.

Dissection will have to be made down to the external oblique, internal oblique, transversalis fascia, and the peritoneum. The superficial epigastric, as well as perforating branches of inferior epigastric, may be interrupted during this incision. Lanz incision is similar to a gridiron incision and is useful for open appendectomies. It is made at the McBurney point with the same anatomical layers as well as the blood supply.

However, the Lanz incision is a horizontal incision, while the gridiron incision is on an oblique angle. The thoracoabdominal incision is a unique incision that connects the pleural cavity and the peritoneal cavity; it yields great exposure to lateral organs, retroperitoneal space, pleural space, and the distal esophagus. Right-sided incisions may yield proper exposure to the hepatic region as well as the right kidney.

A left-sided incision may yield exposure for the stomach as well as the distal esophagus. When performing this incision, the patient is placed with their abdomen tilted 45 degrees from horizontal, and the thorax twisted into the completely lateral position. This position will expose the abdomen as well as the lateral thoracic region. A vertical incision through the left or right upper quadrant is made to explore the abdominal contents first, and then the incision is extended through the eighth intercostal space from medial to lateral for pleural exposure.

The incision will disrupt the rectus abdominis, the oblique muscles, if placed lateral, as well as the transversus abdominis. The thoracic end extends through the intercostals, as well as the latissimus dorsi muscle. Once the thoracic cavity is entered, the lung is deflated. The two incisions should meet at a sharp angle for cleaner closure. Blood supply to the latissimus dorsi is the thoracodorsal artery. This blood supply may be interrupted during the pleural incision laterally.

The abdominal incision could lead to disruption in superior epigastric branches. The chevron incision is one that crosses the midline of the abdomen. It is a sub-costal incision that extends from the mid to lateral costal ridge, across the midline to the contralateral side. This approach may provide valuable exposure for hepatic, pancreatic, upper gastrointestinal region, adrenal, or renal surgeries. It provides access to the intra-abdominal cavity as well as the retroperitoneal space. The blood supplies that may be interrupted are the bilateral superior epigastric.

The abdominal wall will have collaterals from the perforating branches through the oblique muscles as well as the inferior epigastric meaning there will be no devascularized tissues. However, if there is another surgery after a chevron takes place, and the incision is through the lower abdominal wall, there may be an interruption of the inferior epigastric and middle of the abdominal wall with the least amount of collateral blood supply may ultimately be devascularized.

The Pfannenstiel is a transverse lower abdominal incision that is made superior to the pubic ridge. Dissection is made through the skin and subcutaneous fat; the anterior rectus sheath is divided transversely.

The rectus muscle is open vertically in the midline sparing the muscle fibers from being divided. The peritoneum is then entered through a vertical incision. This approach is most frequently used for urologic, orthopedic, pelvic, and cesarean sections. The major drawback of this incision is its limited exposure beyond the pelvis.

Blood supply to keep in mind is the inferior epigastric branches as well as the superficial epigastric. The McEvedy is a vertical incision from the femoral canal and brought superior to above the inguinal ligament.

It opens the femoral space to allow access to the femoral canal as well as the peritoneum. Femoral hernias may be reduced and repaired through this incision. If the peritoneal cavity needs to be accessed, this will provide minimal access, as the incision is not really over the peritoneal space. Due to the location on top of the femoral canal, special care needs to be taken not to injure the femoral vein, artery, or nerve.

Made transversely through the skin and subcutaneous tissues inferior to the clavicle, giving access to the subclavian vessels. However, if access to the distal subclavian artery is needed, then a supraclavicular incision may be utilized. This incision is a transverse incision superior to the clavicle. It may extend along the length of the clavicle to the midline of the sternum and will provide access from another vantage point to the subclavian vessels.

The advantage of this incision is that it can meet a sternotomy incision or a cervical incision to provide greater exposure to cervical anatomy or thoracic anatomy. When making this incision, care must be taken medially to avoid the internal and external jugular veins.

The platysma will be severed, and the incision provides access to the anterior scalenes as well. This approach is most often utilized in trauma to gain access to the subclavian vessels. The sternotomy is a vertical incision over the sternum.

It is used to access the mediastinum, pleural cavity, the aorta and branches to the head and upper extremities, as well as the epigastric region. It is the most commonly used open heart incision. The trapdoor incision is a combination of the collar incision, the sternotomy, as well as a laterally extended incision from the inferior aspect of the sternotomy below the pectoral muscles.

This incision is used rarely to control bleeding from penetrating trauma to zone three of the neck, and on occasion is used for aortic arch aneurysms. The three incisions that are used still need to be conducted carefully due to the vascular supply as well as the nerves running along the anterior chest wall.

The blade used needs to be handled with care because if it is too deep then the lung, aorta, or other major vascular structures may be injured, leading to hemorrhage. Clamshell incision is a large transverse incision that spans across the entire chest wall. It is also known as a bilateral thoracotomy and is used during massive chest trauma, lung transplant, or resection of tumors in the chest.

The incision extends through the sternum, between the fourth and fifth ribs bilaterally, and extends to the mid-axillary line. Mammary vessels will be interrupted as well as intercostal muscles with associated intercostal nerves and vessels. This incision is a modification on the chevron incision.

It is the classic chevron with a vertical incision that extends through the xiphoid and the sternum. This modification is used in liver transplants or any epigastric pathology that needs adequate exposure for debulking or total removal. Supra and infra-umbilical incisions are used for access into the peritoneum through the tissues surrounding the umbilicus. Due to the umbilical stalk, it is unwise to incise directly through the umbilicus so the incision must route around it.

Infra-umbilical incisions may be vertical such as when gaining access for a Hasson port along the linea alba, which is avascular.


Surgical incision

If your institution subscribes to this resource, and you don't have a MyAccess Profile, please contact your library's reference desk for information on how to gain access to this resource from off-campus. The impact that the planning, execution, and closure of an incision has on the outcome of an abdominal operation should not be underestimated. The high combined incidence of surgical site infection SSI , wound dehiscence, and hernia formation suggests a dominant contribution of wound complications to surgical morbidity. Moreover, the quality of exposure provided by an incision influences the ease and safety with which an operation can be undertaken and the outcome in ways which defy easy quantification.


Incisions, Closures, and Management of the Abdominal Wound

In surgery , a surgical incision is a cut made through the skin and soft tissue to facilitate an operation or procedure. Often, multiple incisions are possible for an operation. In general, a surgical incision is made as small and unobtrusive as possible to facilitate safe and timely operating conditions. Surgical incisions are planned based on the expected extent of exposure needed for the specific operation planned. Within each region of the body, several incisions are common. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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