Longterm results of a prospective study of 225 femoral hernia repairs: indications for tissue and mesh repair

Gabriel Chan, Chin-Keung Chan
Journal of the American College of Surgeons 2008, 207 (3): 360-7

BACKGROUND: Femoral hernias are uncommon, and there are relatively few clinical studies of longterm outcomes after repair. Although the McVay repair has been classically described, the infrainguinal plug technique has gained popularity in recent years. Evidence supporting these repairs is sparse.

STUDY DESIGN: A prospective study of elective femoral hernia repairs was done at the Shouldice Hospital from June 1999 until June 2003. The tissue-based complete groin repair (CGR) and a preperitoneal mesh repair were performed for specific indications. Patients were followed annually for 5 years to examine for recurrences and complications.

RESULTS: Two hundred fifty-six patients were enrolled, with 225 completing 5 years of followup. Median age was 55 years, and hernias on the right side were more common (63.1%). Concurrent inguinal hernias were found in 115 patients (51%), and 41 (18.2%) had a previous inguinal hernia repair. A complete groin repair was performed in 120 patients and a preperitoneal mesh repair in 78. The remaining had an infrainguinal mesh repair. The overall recurrence rate was 3.1%, with a median time to recurrence of 12 months. There was no significant difference between mesh and suture repairs. Chronic postoperative pain was experienced by 20 patients (8.9%).

CONCLUSIONS: Femoral hernias can be repaired electively with a tissue-based or a preperitoneal mesh technique, with durable longterm results. Mesh repair is indicated for recurrent femoral hernias, inguinofemoral hernias, prevascular hernias, association with concurrent direct hernias, and, if tension is anticipated, with complete groin repair. Infrainguinal mesh repair is used only when there has been a successful previous inguinal hernia repair.

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