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The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is home to the world’s first Center for Abdominal Core Health, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of experts to help patients improve their core strength and to treat problems of the abdominal core.

The concept of abdominal core health, a new field, focuses first on maximizing the core muscle strength of patients when they are healthy, through exercise, nutrition and physical therapy. When problems like hernias, diastasis of the abdominal wall, and growths and tumors of the core arise, the center convenes a team from a broad range of specialties to develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient. Clinicians from general and gastrointestinal surgery, plastic surgery, trauma surgery, cancer surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation, colorectal surgery and integrative medicine work together not only to fix the patient’s problem, but to help set up the patient for long-term success.

The Center for Abdominal Core Health is led by Benjamin Poulose, MD, MPH, director, Division of General & Gastrointestinal Surgery; Jeffrey Janis, MD, professor of Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Neurology and Surgery; and Vimal Narula, MD, associate professor of surgery in the Division of General and GI Surgery.

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center serves as the Data Coordination Center for the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative (AHSQC), a national quality improvement effort in hernia surgery that strives to improve care delivered to hernia patients across the country.

Recently, Ohio State helped lead the effort to develop the AHSQC’s Abdominal Core Surgery Rehabilitation ProtocolSM, providing evidence-based guidelines to help improve patient outcomes.

The protocol focuses on prehabilitation in addition to the more traditional post-surgical rehabilitation. The AHSQC resources include a patient guide, in-hospital guide and a physical therapist guide. This fills a gap that currently exists in the management of hernia repair patients, making physical therapy and exercise an integral part of the recovery process – not an afterthought.

“It’s a big paradigm shift in the management of hernia patients and is part of the concept of abdominal core health,” said Dr. Poulose, who also serves as the president of the Americas Hernia Society and director for quality and outcomes for the AHSQC. “The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is proud to have helped develop this and to be first in the country to implement the protocol.”

Learn more about the Center for Abdominal Core Health.

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