The spectrum of abdominal wall desmoid fibromatosis and the outcomes of its surgical treatment

Keywords: desmoid fibromatosis, abdominal wall, biological implants


Background: Desmoid fibromatosis (DF) arises in musculoaponeurotic structures, most commonly the rectus abdominis muscle. It is locally aggressive with no propensity for metastasis. The aim was to describe the spectrum of abdominal wall DF and its surgical treatment and outcome at a tertiary institution.

Methods: All abdominal wall DF resected from 2007 to 2019 were retrospectively analysed. The tumours had a full-thickness abdominal wall excision. The defect was reconstructed with biological implants covered by either skin edge undermining or split skin graft. Histological diagnosis was based on characteristic morphological and immunohistochemistry parameters. Parameters analysed were demographics, lesion size, procedure performed and outcomes.

Results: Eleven female patients with a median age of 29 years (range 21–61) presented with rapid growth over 6–24 months of anterior abdominal wall tumours with a median maximum resected diameter of 163 mm (range 63–200 mm). There was no specific complication related to the abdominal wall reconstruction. With a median follow-up of 5 years (range 1–11 years), all patients displayed an asymptomatic abdominal wall bulge (eventration). One patient has had a small recurrence currently being observed.

Conclusion: Striking features of DF tumours at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH) were their location, rapid growth, female gender and large size. Biological implant without complex plastic surgery techniques result in good outcomes, though the rate of progression of eventration to hernia is unknown.

Author Biographies

I Bombil, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital

Department of Surgery, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, South Africa

L Ngobese, University of the Witwatersrand

Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

How to Cite
Bombil, I., & Ngobese, L. (2021). The spectrum of abdominal wall desmoid fibromatosis and the outcomes of its surgical treatment. South African Journal of Surgery, 59(3), 124-126. Retrieved from
General Surgery