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Surg Clin North Am. 1998 Dec;78(6):1047-62.

Laparoscopic repair and groin hernia surgery.

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University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, USA.


Over the past 15 years, laparoscopic herniorrhaphy has made the transition from an experimental to a proven procedure. With increasing laparoscopic skills in the surgical community, many surgeons are now faced with the question of when to recommend laparoscopic herniorrhaphy to their patients. A surgeon's best hernia repair is the one with which they have had the greatest experience. This results in the lowest recurrence and complication rate in his or her hands. Certainly, simple, unilateral hernias and bilateral hernias can be repaired with either anterior or laparoscopic techniques. Many times, laparoscopic herniorrhaphy is too much surgery for a young patient with a unilateral hernia. In such a case, repair is best performed with the patient under local anesthesia. Also, young patients in whom it is advantageous to avoid mesh should not undergo laparoscopic herniorrhaphy. The authors prefer laparoscopic TEP herniorrhaphy in patients with recurrent hernias, bilateral hernias, and unilateral hernias with a suspected contralateral hernia. There is also a consensus that patients with multiple recurrent hernias in whom a preperitoneal repair is appropriate are best served with a laparoscopic repair. Surgeons without advanced laparoscopic skills or without the time to develop the skills necessary to perform laparoscopic herniorrhaphy should consider referring patients with recurrent hernias to surgeons with experience in TEP. TEP is preferable to TAPP because of its lower complication and recurrence rates and in the authors' hands is the "best repair." TAPP should be reserved for patients with prior lower abdominal wall incisions that make the dissection of the peritoneum from the underside of the incision impossible. Patients who cannot tolerate general anesthesia or who have had extensive lower abdominal surgery should not undergo laparoscopic herniorrhaphy. Complication and recurrence rates, although initially higher than traditional repairs, have now fallen to equal or lower levels at centers experienced in laparoscopic techniques. Prospective randomized trials prove that when patients are selected properly and surgeons are adequately trained and proctored, laparoscopic herniorrhaphy can be performed with acceptably low incidences of recurrence and complications.

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