Lower reoperation rate for recurrence after mesh versus sutured elective repair in small umbilical and epigastric hernias. A nationwide register study

M W Christoffersen, F Helgstrand, J Rosenberg, H Kehlet, T Bisgaard
World Journal of Surgery 2013, 37 (11): 2548-52

BACKGROUND: Repair for a small (≤ 2 cm) umbilical and epigastric hernia is a minor surgical procedure. The most common surgical repair techniques are a sutured repair or a repair with mesh reinforcement. However, the optimal repair technique with regard to risk of reoperation for recurrence is not well documented. The aim of the present study was in a nationwide setup to investigate the reoperation rate for recurrence after small open umbilical and epigastric hernia repairs using either sutured or mesh repair.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a prospective cohort study based on intraoperative registrations from the Danish Ventral Hernia Database (DVHD) of patients undergoing elective open mesh and sutured repair for small (≤ 2 cm) umbilical and epigastric hernias. Patients were included during a 4-year study period. A complete follow-up was obtained by combining intraoperative data from the DVHD with data from the Danish National Patient Register. The cumulative reoperation rates were obtained using cumulative incidence plot and compared with the log rank test.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In total, 4,786 small (≤ 2 cm) elective open umbilical and epigastric hernia repairs were included. Age was median 48 years (range 18-95 years). Follow-up was 21 months (range 0-47 months). The cumulated reoperation rates for recurrence were 2.2 % for mesh reinforcement and 5.6 % for sutured repair (P = 0.001). The overall cumulated reoperation rate for sutured and mesh repairs was 4.8 %. In conclusion, reoperation rate for recurrence for small umbilical and epigastric hernias was significantly lower after mesh repair compared with sutured repair. Mesh reinforcement should be routine in even small umbilical or epigastric hernias to lower the risk of reoperation for recurrence avoid recurrence.

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