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Pooled data analysis of laparoscopic vs. open ventral hernia repair: 14 years of patient data accrual.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to analyze the published perioperative results and outcomes of laparoscopic (LVHR) and open (OVHR) ventral hernia repair focusing on complications and hernia recurrences.

METHODS: Data were compiled from all English-language reports of LVHR published from 1996 through January 2006. Series with fewer than 20 cases of LVHR, insufficient details of complications, or those part of a larger series were excluded. Data were derived from 31 reports of LVHR alone (unpaired studies) and 14 that directly compared LVHR to OVHR (paired studies). Chi-squared analysis, Fisher's exact test, and two-tailed t-test analysis were used.

RESULTS: Forty-five published series were included, representing 5340 patients (4582 LVHR, 758 OVHR). In the pooled analysis (combined paired and unpaired studies), LVHR was associated with significantly fewer wound complications (3.8% vs. 16.8%, p < 0.0001), total complications (22.7% vs. 41.7%, p < 0.0001), hernia recurrences (4.3% vs. 12.1%, p < 0.0001), and a shorter length of stay (2.4 vs. 4.3 days, p = 0.0004). These outcomes maintained statistical significance when only the paired studies were analyzed. In the pooled analysis, LVHR was associated with fewer gastrointestinal (2.6% vs. 5.9%, p < 0.0001), pulmonary (0.6% vs. 1.7%, p = 0.0013), and miscellaneous (0.7% vs. 1.9%, p = 0.0011) complications, but a higher incidence of prolonged procedure site pain (1.96% vs. 0.92%, p = 0.0469); none of these outcomes was significant in the paired study analysis. No differences in cardiac, neurologic, septic, genitourinary, or thromboembolic complications were found. The mortality rate was 0.13% with LVHR and 0.26% with OVHR (p = NS). Trends toward larger hernia defects and larger mesh sizes were observed for LVHR.

CONCLUSIONS: The published literature indicates fewer wound-related and overall complications and a lower rate of hernia recurrence for LVHR compared to OVHR. Further controlled trials are necessary to substantiate these findings and to assess the health care economic impact of this approach.

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