Background: The aim of this study was to conduct a comprehensive systematic review comparing tissue glue (TG) against tacks/staples for mesh fixation in laparoscopic (totally extra-peritoneal and trans-abdominal pre-peritoneal) groin hernia repair with the incidence of post-operative chronic pain as the primary outcome measure.
Methods: A computerized search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases for the period from 1 January 1,990 to 30 June 2013 produced 39 reports. The quality of reports was assessed according to criteria reported by the Cochrane communication review group.
Results: Five randomized controlled trials (RCTs, 491 patients) and five non-RCTs (1,034 patients) fulfilled the selection criteria. A meta-analysis of chronic pain from the five RCTs gave a statistically significant Peto odds ratio (OR) of 0.40 (0.21-0.76; p = 0.005) indicating that the TG group experience less chronic pain. Although the studies are underpowered to detect recurrence, the meta-analysis of the recurrence rates from the RCTs identified no difference between tacks/staple and glue fixation (OR 2.36; 0.67-8.37). There were also no differences found in meta-analysis of seroma and hematoma formation between the two methods of fixation. The wide variation in time points regarding pain score meant it was not possible to combine the studies and perform analysis for pain score with earlier time points.
Conclusions: Meta-analysis of RCTs comparing TG with tack fixation in laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery depicts a significant reduction in chronic pain with no increase in recurrence rates. Early post-operative outcome is similar after both methods of mesh fixation, although larger RCTs are required, with long-term pain as the primary endpoint.