Objective: To investigate whether there was a difference in morbidity, recurrence rate, and length of hospital stay between patients undergoing open or laparoscopic incisional hernia repair. Design and Setting: Single-institution cohort study. We compared prospectively collected patient cohorts undergoing laparoscopic or open intraperitoneal onlay mesh repair. Statistical analysis was performed by Fisher exact test and analysis of variance. Patients: Between October 1995 and December 2005, data from 360 consecutive patients who had undergone open or laparoscopic intraperitoneal onlay mesh repair of a ventral hernia were prospectively collected in a database and were supplemented by record review. Main Outcome Measures: Morbidity, hernia recurrence, and length of hospital stay. Postoperative complications of Clavien grade II or greater were considered major complications. Results: Intraperitoneal onlay mesh repair was performed in 233 patients by the open approach and in 127 patients using the laparoscopic approach. The groups were similar for sex and body mass index (calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared); the mean age of the laparoscopic group was 3 years younger; and the mesh was larger in the laparoscopic group. Mean follow-up was 30 and 36 months for the laparoscopic and open groups, respectively; the conversion rate was 4%. Major morbidities were 15% in the open group vs 7% in the laparoscopic group (P=.01). Recurrence rates were 9% in the open group vs 12% in the laparoscopic group (P=.36). Postoperative inpatient admission was more frequent after the open procedure than after the laparoscopic procedure (28% vs 16%, respectively; P<05). Conclusions: Outcomes did not differ with respect to recurrence rates after long-term follow-up; however, the lower rate of major morbidity and increased outpatient-based procedure rates favor laparoscopic repair in this study.
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