Quality of life and outcomes for femoral hernia repair: does laparoscopy have an advantage?

T C Cox, C R Huntington, L J Blair, T Prasad, B T Heniford, V A Augenstein
Hernia: the Journal of Hernias and Abdominal Wall Surgery 2017, 21 (1): 79-88

BACKGROUND: Due to their relative scarcity and to limit single-center bias, multi-center data are needed to study femoral hernias. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcomes and quality of life (QOL) following laparoscopic vs. open repair of femoral hernias.

METHODS: The International Hernia Mesh Registry was queried for femoral hernia repairs. Laparoscopic vs. open techniques were assessed for outcomes and QOL, as quantified by the Carolinas Comfort Scale (CCS), preoperatively and at 1, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. Outcomes were evaluated using the standard statistical analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 80 femoral hernia repairs were performed in 73 patients: 37 laparoscopic and 43 open. There was no difference in mean age (54.7 ± 14.6 years), body mass index (24.2 ± 3.8 kg/m2 ), gender (60.3 % female), or comorbidities (p > 0.05). The hernias were recurrent in 21 % of the cases with an average of 1.23 ± 0.6 prior repairs (p > 0.1). Preoperative CCS scores were similar for both groups and indicated that 59.7 % of patients reported pain and 46.4 % had movement limitations (p > 0.05). Operative time was equivalent (47.2 ± 21.2 vs. 45.9 ± 14.8 min, p = 0.82). There was no difference in postoperative complications, with an overall 8.2 % abdominal wall complications rate (p > 0.05). The length of stay was shorter in the laparoscopic group (0.5 ± 0.6 vs. 1.3 ± 1.6 days, p = 0.02). Follow-up was somewhat longer in the open group (23.8 ± 10.2 vs. 17.3 ± 10.9 months, p = 0.02). There was one recurrence, which was in the laparoscopic group (3.1 vs. 0 %, p = 0.4). QOL outcomes at all time points demonstrated no difference for pain, movement limitation, or mesh sensation. Postoperative QOL scores improved for both groups when compared to preoperative scores.

CONCLUSION: In this prospective international multi-institution study of 80 femoral hernia repairs, no difference was found for operative times, long-term outcomes, or QOL in the treatment of femoral hernias when comparing laparoscopic vs. open techniques. After repair, QOL at all time-points postoperatively improved compared to QOL scores preoperatively for laparoscopic and open femoral hernia repair. While international data supports improved outcomes with laparoscopic approach for femoral hernia repair, no data had existed prior to this study on the difference of approach impacting QOL. In the setting where recurrence and complication rates are equal after femoral hernia repair for either approach, surgeons should perform the technique with which they are most confident, as the operative approach does not appear to change QOL outcomes after femoral hernia repair.

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