Randomized controlled study of laparoscopic total extraperitoneal versus open Lichtenstein inguinal hernia repair

Pawanindra Lal, R K Kajla, J Chander, R Saha, V K Ramteke
Surgical Endoscopy 2003, 17 (6): 850-6

BACKGROUND: Whereas open anterior inguinal herniorrhaphy is a time-tested, safe, and well-understood operation with a high success rate, laparoscopic techniques of inguinal hernia repair are fairly recent. Consequently, short- and long-term outcomes are still being evaluated. Few studies have compared laparoscopic extraperitoneal inguinal hernia repair with tension-free open hernia repair. The current study was conducted to compare complications, operative time, postoperative pain, length of hospital stay, and return to work between open tension-free mesh Lichtenstein (open) repair and laparoscopic total extraperitoneal (TEP) repair.

METHODS: In a prospective randomized study, open hernia repair was performed in one group (n = 25), and TEP repair using a large mesh was performed in another (n = 25). Then intraoperative and postoperative complications and results were compared.

RESULTS: The mean operative time in the TEP group was 75.72 +/- 31.6 min, which was significantly longer than the mean operative time in the open group (54 +/- 15) min (p <0.001). The mean pain scores in the TEP group were 2.64 +/- 1.4 at 12 h and 1.76 +/- 1.4 at 24 h. These scores were significantly lower than the corresponding scores of 3.52 +/- 1.7 (p <0.04) and 2.74 +/- 1.5 (p <0.01) in the open repair group. The mean postoperative analgesic dose was 2.6 +/- 2.3 in the TEP group, which was significantly lower than in the open group 5.76 +/- 3.5 (p <0.001). There was no major complication in either group. The time until return to work was significantly lower in the TEP group (12.8 +/- 7.1) days versus 19.3 +/- 4.3 days; than in the open group (p <0.001). In terms of cosmetics, all 25 patients (100%) in TEP group rated themselves as "highly satisfied," as compared with 7 patients (28%) in the open group (p <0.001). After a mean follow-up period of 13 months (range, 9-18 months), no recurrence was seen in either of the two groups.

CONCLUSION: In terms of complications and short-term recurrence, TEP repair is comparable with open repair. Moreover, TEP is significantly less painful in the early postoperative period, leading to earlier ambulation than open repair. Additionally, TEP results in significantly earlier return to work and better cosmetic results. Currently, TEP seems to be a better alternative than the existing open repair, provided the long-term recurrence rates are comparable. Despite the fact that TEP was a new procedure for the surgeon and the study was conducted during the learning phase, the results are comparable with those in the world literature.

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