Retrospective analysis of umbilical, epigastric, and small incisional hernia repair using the Ventralex™ hernia patch

T Tollens, M Den Hondt, K Devroe, C Terry, S Speybroeck, C Aelvoet, J-P Vanrykel
Hernia: the Journal of Hernias and Abdominal Wall Surgery 2011, 15 (5): 531-40

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this retrospective study was to determine the long-term recurrence and complication rates following small abdominal wall hernia repair with the Ventralex hernia patch. The study also aimed to identify risk factors for hernia recurrence in patients undergoing such repair and to examine the relationship between quality of life and hernia recurrence.

BACKGROUND: Hernia repair using prosthetic mesh materials has become the preferred method of repair, as the recurrence rates are much lower than with conventional repair techniques. The prevention of long-term complications and improvements in the quality of life should also be considered as important features of successful repair. The Ventralex patch is a bilayer prosthesis, designed for retromuscular or intraperitoneal placement. Currently, seven studies have evaluated the device for small ventral hernia repair, and all have shown low short- and long-term recurrence rates.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The medical records of 176 patients who underwent abdominal wall hernia repair using the Ventralex patch between May 2004 and February 2009 were reviewed. All patients were followed up after 1 month and later in 2010. The rate of recurrence, immediate postoperative and long-term complications, and quality of life were evaluated.

RESULTS: Long-term follow-up data were available for 135 patients. The mean follow-up was 49 months (range 13-70 months). There were 12 hernia recurrences (8.9%) during this time. Postoperative (1-month) complications included seroma (4%), superficial surgical site infections (3%), and an abscess (1.5%). At the mean long-term follow-up, complications included infection (1.5%) and subobstruction (1.5%). The only risk factor for hernia recurrence was female gender (unadjusted odds ratio 0.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.05-0.72, P = 0.02). Patients with hernia recurrence reported significantly lower quality of life scores than patients without recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS: The Ventralex hernia patch offers a simple and quick means of repairing small abdominal wall hernias. A relatively high recurrence rate was observed in this study. Reviewing the available literature, a critical appraisal is needed, attention should be paid to follow the correct implantation technique, proper deployment technology should be used, and a lightweight version would be welcome.

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