Objective: To compare laparoscopic hernioplasty with two open tension-free hernia repairs.
Summary background data: Laparoscopic hernioplasty is associated with a short rehabilitation, but it is a technically difficult procedure. It is unclear if it has advantages over the technically easier open tension-free herniorrhaphy.
Methods: Two hundred ninety-nine men 30 to 75 years old were randomized to undergo laparoscopic totally extraperitoneal hernioplasty (TEP), open operation with mesh-plug and patch, or Lichtenstein's operation.
Results: Two hundred ninety-four (98%) patients were followed for 19.8 +/- 8.6 months. Over 90% of the patients in all groups were operated in day surgery; the rest of the patients were all discharged within 24 hours. Postoperative pain (visual analog score) was lower in the patients undergoing TEP than in those undergoing Lichtenstein and mesh-plug procedures. The median sick-leave period was 5 days in the TEP group, 7 days in the mesh-plug group, and 7 days in the Lichtenstein group. The median time to full recovery was significantly shorter in the TEP group compared to the other two groups. There were no major complications. Two recurrences were found in the TEP group and two in the mesh-plug group.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic hernioplasty is superior to tension-free open herniorrhaphy in terms of postoperative pain and rehabilitation.