[Twenty-five years of experience in incisional hernia surgery. A comparative retrospective study of 432 incisional hernia repairs]

C Langer, T Liersch, C Kley, M Flosman, M Süss, A Siemer, H Becker
Der Chirurg; Zeitschrift Für Alle Gebiete der Operativen Medizen 2003, 74 (7): 638-45

INTRODUCTION: Incisional hernia surgery in Germany is changing from conventional techniques to mesh implantation. The relevance of different factors such as surgical technique, mesh material, and patient-related parameters concerning the outcome following mesh repair is still under debate.

METHODS: In a comparative retrospective study of 432 incisional hernia operations on 348 patients we analyzed 11 autodermic hernioplasties, 241 Mayo procedures,and 180 mesh repairs over a 25-year time period. In addition to the quality of life following mesh implantation,the prognostic relevance of demographic, pre- and intraoperative parameters, surgical technique, mesh material, and the surgeon's experience were subjected to both univariate and multivariate analysis.

RESULTS: With a mean follow-up of 9.7+/-8.8 years, the rate of major complications following mesh repair was 9% in contrast to 3% after the Mayo procedure (p=0.091). The sublay technique revealed less complications compared to the onlay procedure (p=0.016). The total recurrence rate following the overlapping Mayo repair was 37% in contrast to 15% after mesh implantation (p=0.001), with a significant superiority of the sublay technique over the inlay technique (p=0.043). The rate of recurrences and complications after autodermic hernioplasty was 72% and 36%,respectively. After mesh repair, 86% of the patients were better satisfied with the results after Marlex mesh compared to GoreTex (p=0.016). Mesh size was the only significant prognostic factor concerning quality of life following mesh implantation. The complication rate was determined significantly by the patients' risk factors, size of hernia, surgical technique, and the surgeon's experience, whereas the rate of recurrences was significantly influenced by the parameters obesity (BMI >25), size of hernia,and surgical experience. The recurrence rate decreased significantly with the surgeon's experience: a minimum of 16 mesh repairs led to a recurrence rate of less than 10%.

CONCLUSIONS: Only the mesh repair revealed acceptable recurrence rates with high patient comfort. The sublay technique is superior to onlay concerning the complication rate, whereas the autodermic hernioplasty and inlay techniques are obsolete. The material of choice is polypropylene. The most important prognostic factor following mesh repair is the surgeon's experience.

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