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Transcutaneous laparoscopic hernia repair in children: a prospective review of 275 hernia repairs with minimum 2-year follow-up.

Surgical Endoscopy 2009 January
BACKGROUND: Inguinal hernia in children is traditionally repaired through a groin incision by dissecting the hernia sac from the spermatic cord and suture ligating its base. A laparoscopic modification of this procedure involves placement of a transcutaneous suture around the neck of the sac through a 2-mm stab incision under visualization with an umbilically placed 2.7-mm 30 degrees lens. We reviewed the clinical outcome of this novel procedure at our institution.

METHODS: Prospective review of 275 hernias in 187 children (144 male, 43 female) performed laparoscopically by a single surgeon between September, 2002 and June, 2005. Data analyzed included side of hernia, incarceration, prematurity, recurrence rate, and complications.

RESULTS: 30 left, 69 right, and 25 bilateral hernias were repaired. Sixty-three unilateral hernias had a contralateral patent processus vaginalis that was repaired. Mean operative time for a bilateral repair was 17 min. Two procedures were for recurrence after open repair. Forty-nine patients were ex-premature infants, accounting for 79 repairs. Fifteen cases followed reduction of incarcerated hernias, nine of whom were in preterm infants. Four out of 275 hernias (1.5%) recurred in four patients (mean age 4.5 years; 3 male, 1 female). There were four superficial wound infections, two umbilical granulomas, two hydroceles, and six self-resolving hematomas. There were no spermatic cord injuries, testicular atrophy, or symptoms of ilioinguinal nerve injuries.

CONCLUSION: This novel laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair is an effective method in children, with recurrence rates comparable to the traditional approach. Advantages of the laparoscopic operation include a "no-touch" approach to the spermatic cord structures, a virtually virgin operative field in cases of recurrence, and excellent cosmesis. Disadvantages include peritoneal access and nonhermetic seal in males.

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