Randomized clinical trial of suture repair, polypropylene mesh or autodermal hernioplasty for incisional hernia

M Korenkov, S Sauerland, M Arndt, L Bograd, E A M Neugebauer, H Troidl
British Journal of Surgery 2002, 89 (1): 50-6

BACKGROUND: Since conventional suture repair for incisional hernia is associated with high recurrence rates, alloplastic and autoplastic prosthetic techniques have been suggested.

METHODS: In a randomized trial, 160 patients with simple or complex hernias underwent either suture repair, autodermal skin graft or onlay polypropylene mesh repair. Suture repair was not done in complex hernias. This report concerns a planned interim analysis.

RESULTS: At mean follow-up of 16 months, there were 17 hernia recurrences that were distributed similarly between the surgical techniques. There were fewer infectious complications after suture repair (three of 33 patients) than after skin graft or mesh repair (seven of 39 and five of 28 for simple hernias; seven of 31 and ten of 29 respectively for complex hernias) (P not significant). The severity of infections after polypropylene mesh implantation prompted the trial committee to discontinue the study. No differences were noted in duration of stay in hospital and quality of life. However, pain was significantly more frequent after polypropylene mesh repair (pooled risk ratio 2.9 and 1.8 at 6 weeks and 1 year respectively).

CONCLUSION: Suture repair was safe for small incisional hernias. Both autoplastic and alloplastic hernia repair yielded comparably low recurrence rates, but led to a high rate of wound infection.

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