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April 1994

A Prospective Comparison of Laparoscopic and Tension-Free Open Herniorrhaphy

Author Affiliations

From the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Arch Surg. 1994;129(4):361-366. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1994.01420280031004

Objective:  To compare results and outcomes following laparoscopic and tension-free open inguinal herniorrhaphy.

Design:  A prospective, nonrandomized trial of a single surgeon's experience.

Setting:  A large university hospital.

Patients:  The study included 100 patients with 116 hernias. Patients were offered open hernia repair or, if medically suitable for general anesthesia, a laparoscopic hernia repair. Fifty-seven patients underwent open repair and 43 patients underwent laparoscopic repair.

Intervention:  Laparoscopic repair was performed using a transabdominal preperitoneal mesh technique. Open hernia repair was performed using a mesh-plug technique in which the hernia sac was reduced and held in place by a cone of mesh. The floor was covered with a second piece of mesh that encircled the cord and was sutured at the internal ring; it was held in place under the external oblique without sutures.

Results:  Patients undergoing open repair were older than those undergoing laparoscopic repair. The distribution of hernia types was similar. The laparoscopic operation took longer than the open operation (mean [±SD], 1.9±0.4 hours vs 1.6±0.4 hours; P<.05), was more expensive ($4165±$1154 vs $2985±$1682; P<.05), and required more postoperative admissions (28% vs 3.5%). There were three recurrences in the laparoscopic group and none in the open group. Patients undergoing laparoscopic repair consumed the same amount of narcotic analgesics as did the group undergoing open repair and had discomfort for the same amount of time. Patients undergoing laparoscopic repair returned to work sooner than did patients undergoing open repair (5.6 days vs 10.3 days; P<.05).

Conclusions:  Laparoscopic hernia repair returns patients to the workplace faster than open hernia repair despite a similar analgesic requirement. The laparoscopic repair costs more and has a higher recurrence rate than open repair. Laparoscopic repair is most suitable for bilateral hernias. Further investigation of this technique is required before its widescale application can be recommended.(Arch Surg. 1994;129:361-366)

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