Safety of laparoscopic ventral hernia repair in octogenarians

Andrew L Blount, Randall O Craft, Kristi L Harold
JSLS: Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons 2009, 13 (3): 323-6

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The recurrence rate after laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is lower than the rate of recurrence via the open approach in many series. Studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of this procedure but have had relatively young patient populations. We present our experience in a significantly older population.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review of all patients 80 to 89 years of age undergoing a laparoscopic ventral hernia repair at our institution from May 2000 to June 2007 was performed. Data collected included demographics, number and type of previous abdominal operations, number of previous hernia repairs, defect and mesh size, postoperative complications, and follow-up.

RESULTS: Twenty octogenarian patients underwent laparoscopic ventral hernia repair. Nine were men and 11 were women. The mean age was 82 years. Thirteen patients (65%) had one or more associated comorbidities at the time of surgery. Eighteen patients (90%) had undergone a mean of 1.7 prior abdominal operations. Six (30%) patients had undergone a mean of 1.1 previous open hernia repairs; 5 (83%) with mesh. Eight patients (40%) had an additional operative procedure at the time of laparoscopic hernia repair. Ten minor complications occurred in 10 patients (50%). Four major complications occurred in 4 patients (20%). One patient required reoperation for evacuation of hematoma at a trocar site. No patients complained of pain at a transabdominal suture site or persistent seromas by 6 weeks of follow-up. At mean follow-up of 3.1 months, no recurrences occurred and no patients required mesh removal in this series. No deaths occurred.

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is becoming an accepted technique for hernia repair in the United States, with a well-documented low recurrence rate. Our series demonstrates that this approach is equally safe and effective for a significantly older segment of the population.

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