Prospective randomized controlled trial to compare skin staples and polypropylene for securing the mesh in inguinal hernia repair

I W Mills, I M McDermott, D A Ratliff
British Journal of Surgery 1998, 85 (6): 790-2

BACKGROUND: The Lichtenstein tension-free repair has become the standard method for repairing inguinal hernia in many surgical units. This study compared two methods of mesh fixation.

METHODS: Fifty men undergoing unilateral primary Lichtenstein inguinal hernia repair under general anaesthesia were randomized into two groups. In the control group polypropylene mesh was secured with 2/0 polypropylene sutures and the skin closed with subcuticular 3/0 polydioxanone. In the study group polypropylene mesh was secured with skin staples and the skin was closed with staples from the same staple gun. Duration of the operation was recorded. Early follow-up was achieved by patient review at 6 weeks and postal questionnaire at 12 weeks.

RESULTS: The operation was significantly shorter when staples were used (median 20 min 0 s versus 29 min 30 s, P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the incidence of postoperative complications or pain score. The study group reported earlier return to normal activity (4 weeks 0 days versus 6 weeks 2 days, P < 0.01) although there was no difference in the time taken to return to work or driving.

CONCLUSION: The use of skin staples to secure mesh in the Lichtenstein inguinal hernia repair significantly reduced the duration of the operation and was as effective as conventional mesh fixation with polypropylene in the short term.

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