A preoperative hernia symptom score predicts inguinal hernia anatomy and outcomes after TEP repair

Robert D Knox, Christophe R Berney
Surgical Endoscopy 2015, 29 (2): 481-6

BACKGROUND: The Carolinas comfort scale (CCS) is an ideal tool for assessing patients’ quality-of-life post hernia repair, but its use has been barely investigated preoperatively. The aim was to quantify preoperative symptoms and assess their relevance in predicting postoperative clinical outcomes following totally extraperitoneal (TEP) inguinal hernia repair.

METHODS: The CCS was modified for preoperative use (modified or MCCS) by omitting mesh sensation questioning. Data collection was prospective over a 16 months period. (M)CCS questionnaires were completed preoperatively and at 2 then 6 weeks post repair. Intraoperative findings were also recorded. One hundred and four consecutive patients consented for TEP repair were included using a fibrin glue mesh fixation technique.

RESULTS: All three questionnaires were completed by 88 patients (84.6 %). Preoperative MCCS scores did not differ with age, obesity, the presence of bilateral or recurrent inguinal herniae or hernia type. Higher MCCS grouping [OR 4.3 (95 % CI 1.5–12.6)] and the presence of bilateral herniae [OR 8.5 (1.2–61.8)] were predictors of persisting discomfort at 6 weeks, with lower scores on MCCS [OR 16.4 (3.9–67.6), obesity (OR 9.9 91.6–63.2)] and recurrent hernia repair [OR 11.4 (1.4–91.0)] predicting increased discomfort at 2 weeks versus preoperatively. MCCS scores were inversely correlated with the size of a direct defect (r −0.42, p = 0.011) but did not differ with the intraoperative finding of an incidental femoral and/or obturator hernia. Female sex was strongly associated with recognition of a synchronous incidental hernia (5 vs 57 %, p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Pre- and post-operative scoring of hernia specific symptoms should be considered as part of routine surgical practice, to counsel patients on their expectations of pain and discomfort post repair and to select those who might be more appropriate for a watchful waiting approach. Females with inguinal hernia warrant complete assessment of their groin hernial orifices intraoperatively due to a high rate of synchronous incidental hernia.

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