Anatomy - Laparoscopic hernia repair, IPOM following lower laparotomy - general and visceral surgery

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  • Topographical anatomy of the abdominal wall; internal aspect of the anterior abdominal wall

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    (1) Diaphragm, (2) umbilicus, (3) medial umbilical folds, (4) median umbilical fold, (5) external iliac artery and vein, (6) iliopsoas muscle, (7) bladder, (8) transverse fascia, (9) inferior epigastric vessels, (10) lateral inguinal fossa, (11) spermatic duct, (12) anastomosis between inferior epigastric artery and obturator artery, (13) Cooper ligament, (14) lacunar ligament of Gimbernat

  • Surgical anatomy of the anterior abdominal wall

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    1. Anterior abdominal muscles

    Rectus abdominis: Long abdominal strap muscle encased by the rectus sheath, crossed by 3 – 4 tendinous intersections intimately adherent to the anterior lamina of the sheath.

    Pyramidalis: Originates at the superior pubic ramus and attaches to the linea alba; it is anterior to the rectus abdominis muscle and is enclosed in its own sheath within the anterior lamina of the rectus sheath.

    2. Layered structure of the anterior abdominal wall

    Rectus sheath: Covers the rectus abdominis; superior to the midpoint between the umbilicus and symphysis there is a distinct anterior and posterior lamina; the inferior margin of the posterior lamina ends in a tendinous raphe, the arcuate line; above this line, the external oblique muscle inserts in the anterior layer of the rectus sheath, while the internal oblique inserts in both the anterior and posterior laminae, and the transversus abdominis into the posterior lamina.

     Linea semilunaris: Transition zone between the aponeuroses of the muscles of the lateral abdominal wall and the lateral margin of the rectus sheath.

    Linea alba: About 1 cm wide tendinous raphe between the left and right rectus sheath from the xiphoid process to the symphysis.

    Transversalis fascia: Cephalad to the arcuate line it covers the inside of the posterior lamina of the rectus sheath and caudad it is in intimate contact with the rectus abdominis.

    3. Internal aspect of the abdominal wall

    Median umbilical fold: Median peritoneal plication extending from the umbilicus to the bladder and comprising the median umbilical ligament (strand of connective tissue = remains of the urachus).

    Medial umbilical fold: Bilateral peritoneal plication comprising the medial umbilical ligament = obliterated remains of the bilateral umbilical artery.

    Lateral umbilical fold: Bilateral peritoneal plication superior to both inferior epigastric arteries, each with two comitant veins.

    4. Vessels and nerves

    A) Arteries

    Superior epigastric: Branch of the internal thoracic artery, anastomosed with the inferior epigastric artery at the level of the umbilicus.

    Inferior epigastric: Branch of the external iliac artery, coursing like the latter along the posterior surface of the rectus abdominis in the rectus sheath.

    Superficial epigastric: Branch of the femoral artery; after crossing the inguinal ligament it fans out in the subcutaneous tissue of the anterior abdominal wall.

    Posterior intercostals VI – XI and subcostal artery: Derived from the thoracic aorta; their final course takes them inferiorly and obliquely between the internal oblique and transverse abdominal muscles, reaching the rectus sheath laterally, where they anastomose with the inferior and superior epigastric arteries.

    b) Veins

    Superior epigastric: They accompany the eponymic artery, anastomose with branches of the inferior epigastric vein, and drain into the internal thoracic veins.

    Inferior epigastric: Fans out into comitant veins of the inferior epigastric artery and drains into the external iliac vein.

    Superficial epigastric: Parallels the eponymic artery (see above).

    c) Lymphatic vessels

    Superficial lymphatic vessels: Cephalad to the umbilicus they course to the axillary lymph nodes and caudad to the inguinal lymph nodes.

    Deep lymphatic vessels: Usually, they parallel the blood vessels and course to the parasternal, lumbar, and external iliac lymph nodes.

    d) Nerves

    Intercostals VI – XII: Anterior branches of the thoracic nerves VI – XII; posterior to the costal cartilages they course to the abdominal wall between the internal oblique and transversus abdominis; motor branches supply the anterior and lateral muscles of the abdominal wall and sensory branches the abdominal skin.

    Iliohypogastric, ilioinguinal, and genitofemoral: Contribute to the motor and sensory innervation of the genital and lower abdominal region.

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