The laparoscopic repair of suprapubic ventral hernias

A M Carbonell, K W Kercher, B D Matthews, R F Sing, W S Cobb, B T Heniford
Surgical Endoscopy 2005, 19 (2): 174-7

BACKGROUND: The complexity of dissection and the close proximity of the hernia to bony, vascular, nerve, and urinary structures make the laparoscopic repair of suprapubic hernias (LRSPH) a formidable operation. We performed a prospective evaluation of the outcomes of patients undergoing LRSPH.

METHODS: The study population comprised 36 patients undergoing LRSPH from July 1996 to January 2004. Patient demographics, hernia sizes, mesh types and sizes, perioperative outcomes, and recurrences were documented. After our early experience with this operation, the repair evolved to include transabdominal suture fixation to the pubic bone, Cooper's ligament, and above the iliopubic tract.

RESULTS: There were 26 women and 10 men. They had a mean age of 55.9 years (range, 33-76) and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 31.0 kg/m2 (range, 22-67). Twenty-two (61%) of the repairs were for recurrent hernias, with an average of 2.3 previously failed open repairs each (range, 1-11). The mean hernia size was 191.4 cm2 (range, 20-768), and the average mesh size was 481.4 cm2 (range, 193-1,428). All repairs were performed with expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) mesh. Mean operating time was 178.7 min (range, 95-290). Mean blood loss was 40 cc (range, 20-100). One patient undergoing her fifth repair required conversion due to adhesions to a polypropylene mesh. Hospital stay averaged 2.4 days (range, 1-7). Mean follow-up was 21.1 months (range, 1-70). Complications (16.6%) included deep venous thrombosis (n = 1), prolonged pain for >6 weeks (n = 1), trocar site cellulitis (n = 1), ileus (n = 1), prolonged seroma (n = 1), and Clostridium difficile colitis (n = 1). Hernias recurred in two of our first nine patients, for an overall recurrence rate of 5.5%. Since we began using the technique of applying multiple sutures directly to the pubis and Cooper's ligament (in the subsequent 27 patients), no recurrences have been documented.

CONCLUSIONS: Although technically demanding and time-consuming, the LRSPH is safe and technically feasible. Moreover, it results in a low recurrence rate and is applicable to large or multiply recurrent hernias. Transabdominal suture fixation to the bony and ligamentous structures produces a more durable hernia repair.

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