Low recurrence rate after laparoscopic (TEP) and open (Lichtenstein) inguinal hernia repair: a randomized, multicenter trial with 5-year follow-up

Arne S Eklund, Agneta K Montgomery, Ib C Rasmussen, Rune P Sandbue, Leif A Bergkvist, Claes R Rudberg
Annals of Surgery 2009, 249 (1): 33-8

OBJECTIVES: To compare a laparoscopic (totally extraperitoneal patch (TEP)) and an open technique (Lichtenstein) for inguinal hernia repair regarding recurrence rate and possible risk factors for recurrence.

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Laparoscopic hernia repair has been introduced as an alternative to open repair. Short-term follow-up suggests benefits for those patients operated with a laparoscopic approach compared with open techniques; ie, less postoperative pain and a shorter convalescence period. Long-term results, however, are less well known.

METHODS: The study was conducted as a multicenter randomized trial with a 5-year follow-up. A total of 1512 men aged 30 to 70 years, with a primary unilateral inguinal hernia, were randomized to either TEP or Lichtenstein repair.

RESULTS: Overall, 665 patients in the TEP group and 705 patients in the Lichtenstein group were evaluable. The cumulative recurrence rate was 3.5% in the TEP group and 1.2% in the Lichtenstein group (P = 0.008). Test for heterogeneity revealed significant differences between individual surgeons. The exclusion of 1 surgeon, who was responsible for 33% (7 of 21) of all recurrences in the TEP group, lowered the cumulative recurrence rate to 2.4% in this group, which was not statistically different from that of the Lichtenstein group.

CONCLUSIONS: The recurrence rate for both TEP and Lichtenstein repair was low. A higher cumulative recurrence rate in the TEP group was seen at 5 years. Further analysis revealed that this could be attributable to incorrect surgical technique.


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