JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Evidence-Based Hernia Treatment in Adults

Dieter Berger
Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 2016 March 4, 113 (9): 150-7; quiz 158
26987468

BACKGROUND: Inguinal hernia repair is the most common general surgical procedure in industrialized countries, with a frequency of about 200 operations per 100 000 persons per year. Suture- and mesh-based techniques can be used, and the procedure can be either open or minimally invasive.

METHODS: This review is based on a selective search of the literature, with interpretation of the published findings according to the principles of evidence-based medicine.

RESULTS: Inguinal hernia is diagnosed by physical examination. Surgery is not necessarily indicated for a primary, asymptomatic inguinal hernia in a male patient, but all inguinal hernias in women should be operated on. For hernias in women, and for all bilateral hernias, a laparoscopic or endoscopic procedure is preferable to an open procedure. Primary unilateral hernias in men can be treated either by open surgery or by laparoscopy/endoscopy. Patients treated by laparoscopy/endoscopy develop chronic pain less often than those treated by open surgery. A mesh-based repair is generally recommended; this seems reasonable in view of the pathogenesis of the condition, which involves an abnormality of the extracellular matrix.

CONCLUSION: The choice of procedure has been addressed by international guidelines based on high-level evidence. Surgeons should deviate from their recommendations only in exceptional cases and for special reasons. Guideline conformity implies that hernia surgeons must master both open and endoscopic/laparoscopic techniques.

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