A modified laparoscopic hernioplasty (TAPP) is the standard procedure for inguinal and femoral hernias: a retrospective 17-year analysis with 1,123 hernia repairs

Werner K J Peitsch
Surgical Endoscopy 2014, 28 (2): 671-82

BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures generally are accepted for repair of primary and recurrent hernias that follow conventional (anterior) repair. This report discusses transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) for incarcerated hernias, scrotal hernias, and hernias after radical prostatectomy, as well as hernia recurrences after TAPP and totally extraperitoneal (TEP) procedures (complex hernias). Studies with long-term results of hernia recurrences are missing. This study aimed to determine hernia recurrence rates for adults after a modified TAPP procedure. The records of patients who had hernia repair surgery at a general hospital 2, 7, 12, and 17 years earlier were analyzed. Living patients were requested to complete a questionnaire to complement information from their hospital records.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was undertaken that included 5,764 patients who had undergone hernia repair surgery 2-17 years earlier at a single large center. Between 1993 and 2009, a modified TAPP procedure was performed for 5,764 patients (median age, 59.1 years) to repair 6,776 hernias (93.9% of all hernia repairs), including 6,126 primary hernias (87.4%) and 884 recurrent hernias (12.6%). These included 994 complicated hernias (14.2%) closed by a modified TAPP (89.3% of all femoral hernias, 85.9% of scrotal hernias, 79.1% of incarcerated hernias, and 92.7% of hernias after radical prostatectomy). Limited financial and staff resources did not permit a quantitative follow-up study within a reasonable time of all 5,764 patients who had hernia surgery 2-18 years earlier. To obtain quantitative results of hernia recurrences after a modified TAPP, the patients were divided into four subgroups and requested to complete a questionnaire. These four patient subgroups whose surgeries had been performed 2 years earlier (241 patients with 277 hernias), 7 years earlier (285 patients with 376 hernias), 12 years earlier (401 patients with 544 hernias), and 17 years earlier (181 patients with 222 hernias) represented the complete group of hernia sufferers. Patients with symptoms after hernia surgery (n = 5) were invited for a medical checkup by a specialist in hernia surgery at our outpatient unit.

RESULTS: The sex, age, and the number of complex hernias of the patients did not differ significantly among the four patient subgroups or in comparison with the entire group. The patients who had received surgery in 1994, 1999, 2004, and 2009 were quizzed by a questionnaire and represented all patients who had hernia surgery from 1993 to 2009. The follow-up response of the living patients in each of the subgroups ranged from 89.5% of those who had hernia surgery 17 years earlier to 95.9% of those who had surgery 2 years earlier. The primary end point of the study was the hernia recurrence rate after a modified TAPP for primary, recurrent, and complex hernias performed 2, 7, 12, and 17 years earlier. The secondary end points of the study focused on the following questions: Is a modified TAPP practicable with acceptable recurrence rates for complex hernias? Do relapse rates show individual surgeon-dependent differences in relation to the learning curve? How many years of postoperative follow-up evaluation are required to determine quantitative recurrence rates (>90% recurrence)? All inguinal and femoral hernias were repaired with a modified TAPP procedure. Hernia defects larger than 1 × 1 cm were closed with nonabsorbable sutures before the mesh was implanted. Within 17 years after surgery, 4 (4.3%) of the 94 study participants treated with a modified TAPP procedure for primary or recurrent inguinal and femoral hernias experienced recurrent hernias (4 recurrences after 117 hernioplasties, 3.4%). Within 12 years after surgery, 4 (1 %) of 302 patients experienced recurrent hernias (4 recurrences after 398 modified TAPP procedures, 1%). Within 7 years after surgery for inguinal or femoral hernias, 8 (3.2%) of 251 patients had relapsed (8 recurrences after 337 modified TAPP procedures, 2.4%). Within 2 years after a modified TAPP, only 1 of 230 patients (0.4%) experienced a recurrent hernia (1 relapse after 265 hernioplasties, 0.4%). After the modified TAPP procedure, 52.9% (n = 9) of the patients with a recurrent hernia had a second repair at our hospital, and 35.3% (n = 6) had the second repair at other hospitals, whereas 2 patients (11.8 %) renounced a repeat surgical intervention. The recurrence rate after a modified TAPP procedure for all the patients (n = 896) was 1.8%. The study participants with primary hernias (n = 765) had a 1.7% recurrence rate, whereas the rate for recurrent hernias after anterior repair (n = 131) was 2.3 %. Incarcerated hernias (n = 47) and hernias after radical prostatectomy (n = 22) that were closed by the modified TAPP procedure resulted in no hernia recurrences. Only 1 of 47 patients with scrotal hernias had a hernia relapse. Of all the hernia recurrences between 1993 and 2009 (n = 76), 60.5% (n = 46) developed within 2 years after surgery, whereas 15.8% (n = 12) occurred after more than 5 years, and 4% (n = 3) occurred after more than 10 years. The recurrence rates also were higher for surgeons in the early period after completion of their personal learning curves (<50 modified TAPP procedures performed on their own responsibility).

CONCLUSIONS: In a retrospective long-term study (2-17 years) from a single center with 1,108 patients and 1,123 modified TAPP procedures (93.9% of all hernia repairs), the hernia recurrence rate was 1.7% for adults with primary hernias (n = 765 patients) and 2.3% for adults with recurrent hernias after anterior repair (n = 131 patients). A modified TAPP procedure with suturing of hernia defects larger than 1 × 1 cm can be used as the standard procedure without recurrences for femoral hernias, incarcerated hernias, and hernias after radical prostatectomy, with low recurrence rates for scrotal hernias (2%). To collect quantitative data on hernia recurrence rates, postoperative follow-up studies longer than 10 years are needed (4% of recurrences developed later than 10 years after surgery).

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