Jun 24, 2019 | Updated: 11:41 AM EDT

New App Forecasts Developing Hernia Risk after Abdominal Surgery

Apr 12, 2019 01:12 PM EDT

New App Forecasts Developing Hernia Risk after Abdominal Surgery
(Photo : Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay)

Following abdominal surgery, a new app can predict the chances of a patient developing an incisional hernia, utilizing big data to potentially help deal with a problem that can affect one out of every eight of these surgical patients.

Some researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have developed an app that uses electronic health records (EHR) to identify the most common risk factors for patients, as well as which surgeries most commonly result in incisional hernias across multiple specialties.

To validate their study, the researchers used the app based on data from almost 30,000 patients. An assistant professor of Plastic Surgery, John P. Fischer, MD, MPH, FACS, will present the app and its development at the 139th American Surgical Association Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, on 12th April 2019.

Following abdominal surgery, incisional hernias occur at the site of the surgical wound when contents of the abdomen can push through the muscle. These contents feel and look like a bulge under the skin at the location of the scar tissue, and they weaken the membrane, can be painful for patients, and usually enlarge and become more symptomatic over time.

It is possible for a need to have additional surgery to correct them for many patients who develop these hernias, and this development opens the door to more risk of complications and potentially leaving people caught in a cycle. Fischer's group revealed in the research that care related to incisional hernias costs the United States health care system about $7.3 billion each year because of the number of these cases and the quality of life issues they cause.

Fischer stated that the new app they developed presents the risk for each case at the point of care which gives surgeons and patients the chance to consider this result ahead of time and incorporate data into the decision-making process.

The app has a combination of all data to generate a real-time risk score for each patient, and the model has proven to be remarkably stable.

One of the several initiatives the Fisher's group is working on is the ability to predict risk and work on it to better deal with the impact of incisional hernias. Apart from that, they are also looking at understanding patient expectations going into abdominal surgeries, as well as patient-reported outcomes afterward.

Aside from this new app, the team has previously developed a tool to assess these factors, and Fisher claimed that the combination of these tools with the ability to predict risk gives surgeons a multi-pronged approach to addressing the problems related to incisional hernia care.

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