More than 150 consecutive open umbilical hernia repairs in a major Veterans Administration Medical Center

Buckminster Farrow, Samir Awad, David H Berger, Daniel Albo, Liz Lee, Anu Subramanian, Charles F Bellows
American Journal of Surgery 2008, 196 (5): 647-51

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to determine the rate of surgical site infection for open elective umbilical hernia repairs and to identify the factors related to an increased risk of infection and/or recurrence.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 152 open elective umbilical hernia repairs between 2003 and 2007 was performed.

RESULTS: Overall, 19% of repairs became infected. Both high ASA classification (P = .01) and mesh repair (P = .01) significantly predicted wound infection, whereas age >60 years, body mass index >30, smoking, immunosuppression, diabetes, and hernia size did not. Only 2 of 17 infected mesh repairs required removal of the mesh. The recurrence rate was 1.5% for mesh and 9.2% for suture repairs.

CONCLUSIONS: Umbilical hernia repair is associated with a high rate of infection, and most superficial mesh infections can be treated with antibiotics alone. In addition, mesh repair of umbilical hernias decreased the rate of recurrence but increased the risk of infection compared with suture repairs.

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