Does ventral hernia defect length, width, or area predict postoperative quality of life? Answers from a prospective, international study

Blair Andrew Wormer, Amanda L Walters, Joel F Bradley, Kristopher B Williams, Victor B Tsirline, Vedra A Augenstein, B Todd Heniford
Journal of Surgical Research 2013, 184 (1): 169-77

BACKGROUND: The goal of this study was to determine if ventral hernia defect length, width, or area predict postoperative pain and quality of life following ventral hernia repair (VHR).

METHODS: The International Hernia Mesh Registry, a prospective database from 40 institutions worldwide, was queried for patients undergoing VHR from October 2007 to June 2012. Laparoscopic and open VHR were evaluated separately. Width and length were stratified into large, ≥10 cm and small, <10 cm, along with area as large, ≥100 cm(2) and small, <100 cm(2).

RESULTS: In total, 865 International Hernia Mesh Registry patients underwent VHR. Large defect width, length, and area had no association with hernia recurrence or reoperation in both open and laparoscopic VHR. There was a significant increase in operating room time and length of stay for large compared with small width, length, and area for open and laparoscopic VHR patients (P < 0.05). Large area was associated with increased seroma and ileus in open and laparoscopic VHR (P < 0.05). There was greater pain and activity limitation at 1 mo for large versus small width and area whether repaired laparoscopically or open (P < 0.05). When comparing large to small length, there was no difference in pain for all follow-up time points when repaired laparoscopically, but there is significantly increased odds of pain and activity limitation at 1, 6, and 12 mo when repaired open (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing laparoscopic or open VHR with large defect widths and total area have a greater chance of pain and activity limitation at 1-mo follow-up, but not long term. Large defect lengths are associated with increased early and chronic discomfort in open VHR only.

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