Is it safe to perform laparoscopic ventral hernia repair with mesh in elderly patients?

Y K Lee, A Iqbal, M Vitamvas, C McBride, J Thompson, D Oleynikov
Hernia: the Journal of Hernias and Abdominal Wall Surgery 2008, 12 (3): 239-42

BACKGROUND: Ventral hernia is a common surgical condition occurring most often as a complication following abdominal surgery. Laparoscopic repair of a ventral hernia has been shown to be safe with low rates of complications, shortened length of stay, and low rates of early recurrence as compared to open surgery. Few studies have documented long-term outcomes of laparoscopic repair in elderly patients. The aim of this study is to report the long-term outcomes of laparoscopic ventral hernia repair with mesh in elderly patients.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: This is a retrospective study in a university setting with IRB approval. Between the years 2000 and 2006, 117 patients underwent laparoscopic repair of ventral hernia with synthetic mesh. Data were collected using patient charts and radiographic reports. Patient variables included age, sex, size and content of hernia, size of mesh used, length of hospital stay (LHS), estimated blood loss (EBL), follow-up duration, and post-operative complications (PC) including infection, deep vein thrombosis, bleeding, and pulmonary embolism. The comparison was done between two different age groups (A <55 years old; B >or= 55 years old).

RESULTS: Current median (range) follow-up periods for group A (<55 years) and B (>or=55 years) were 57.5 and 53 months, respectively. Group A (63 patients) and B (54 patients) had same median LHS (1 day) and size of mesh utilized (285 cm(2)). For groups A and B, the percent female, and the percentages of recurrence, minimal EBL (<50 ml), and PC were 61.9 and 44.4; 1.6 and 3.7; 96.8 and 92.6; 4.8 and 12.9, respectively. Median hernia sizes for groups A and B were 55.1 and 54 cm(2). No significant differences were found for any of the above variables.

CONCLUSION: No significant difference was found in outcomes between younger versus older patients undergoing laparoscopic ventral hernia repair with mesh. Laparoscopic repair provides a durable and effective method of repairing a ventral hernia with low morbidity and mortality in the elderly population.

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