Laparo-endoscopic versus open recurrent inguinal hernia repair: should we follow the guidelines?
Background: There is little available evidence on the optimal management of recurrent inguinal hernia, particularly if the original procedure involved the use of mesh. This study was a review of recurrent hernia repair in a district hospital, involving both laparoscopic and open procedures. Methods: The case notes of all patients who had a repair of a recurrent hernia between 1991 and 2000, inclusive, were examined; 171 procedures were included. Where known, the original repair was a nylon darn in 31%, mesh repair in 18%, and laparoscopic repair in 8%. Results: The recurrent hernia was repaired using a Lichtenstein open mesh technique in 63% and by the totally extraperitoneal (TEP) method in 22%. Complication rates were highest after emergency surgery (all had open surgery), where 71% had complications and one patient died. For elective repairs, complication rates were similar after open (13%) and TEP (8%) repairs. The duration of hospital stay was also similar (1.2 vs 1.3 days, respectively), and a single recurrence was seen in each group. Patients with recurrence after primary mesh repair were also managed by both techniques with similar results. Open re-operation for mesh failure was technically straightforward. Conclusions: Most recurrent hernias are still repaired by open techniques. There was no convincing evidence of different outcomes for open and TEP repairs in this review. Even when the original hernia repair involved the use of mesh, further open repair by an experienced surgeon is justified.