Despite the high incidence of abdominal traumas, traumatic abdominal wall hernias (TAWHs) remain rare probably because of elasticity of the abdominal wall. The TAWH is due to blunt abdominal trauma with disruption of the abdominal wall muscles and fascia with intact overlying skin. TAWH can be classified into high energy injures (generally motor vehicle accidents) and low energy injures (impact on a small blunt object). Common example of the latter type is a fall onto a bicycle handlebar. The mechanism of the trauma includes sudden increase of intra-abdominal pressure and extensive shear forces applied to the abdominal wall. The diagnosis of TAWH is difficult in the Emergency Room because during the primary diagnostic process most attention is directed toward the detection of internal injures and TAWH can be missed.
In this article we report a case of TAWH caused by a work accident (an heavy steel tube fallen onto the abdominal wall of the patient from a height of five meters) with delayed diagnosis.