Improved outcomes with the Prolene Hernia System mesh compared with the time-honored Lichtenstein onlay mesh repair for inguinal hernia repair

Am J Surg. 2007 Jun;193(6):697-701. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2006.08.087.


Background: Inguinal hernia repairs are commonly performed operations. Recently, Neumayer et al examined the gold standard Lichtenstein onlay mesh repair (LMR) against laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair and showed that the recurrence rates are higher for laparoscopic mesh repairs when compared with the open onlay mesh repair (laparoscopic = 10.1% versus open = 4.9%). In 1998, the Prolene Hernia System (PHS) mesh, consisting of an onlay and an underlay patch attached with a connector, was introduced as an option for tension-free open repair of inguinal hernias combining the benefits of a posterior and anterior repair from an open approach. Our objective was to evaluate the PHS mesh repair versus the LMR for inguinal hernias. We hypothesized that the recurrence rate of PHS mesh would be lower compared with the LMR with overall similar complication rates.

Methods: PHS mesh hernia repairs performed from January 2003 to July 2005 and LMR repairs from January 2000 to July 2002 were included. Demographic data such as age, race, and gender as well as comorbid conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, previous myocardial infarction, diabetes, hypertension, prostatism, and chronic cough were collected. Complications such as cord injury, seroma, hematoma, urinary retention, urinary tract infection, orchitis, and wound infection were recorded. Recurrences in each group were also recorded. A student t test and chi-square analysis were used for statistical analysis.

Results: Six hundred twenty-two charts were reviewed during the 2 time periods (PHS mesh = 321, LMR = 302). The median follow-up for the study was 17 months. There was no significant difference with regards to age, race, gender, or comorbidities between the 2 groups. Overall, there was a trend toward decreased complications in the PHS mesh group compared with the LMR group (PHS mesh = 17%, LMR = 23%, P = .07), with a significant difference in the hematoma/seroma rates (PHS mesh = 6.9%, LMR = 12.6%, P = .015). Finally, there was a significant decrease in the recurrence rate for the PHS mesh group when compared with the LMR group (PHS mesh = 0.6%, LMR = 2.7%, P = .04).

Conclusion: Our study shows, during a median follow-up of 17 months, improved outcomes by using the PHS mesh compared with the gold standard Lichtenstein onlay mesh for inguinal hernias with significantly lower recurrence rates. Additionally, in the PHS mesh group, there was a trend toward decreased overall complication rates with significantly less seroma/hematoma rates. Therefore, the PHS mesh repair may represent a superior alternative for the repair of inguinal hernias.

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Polypropylenes*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Mesh*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polypropylenes