Background: The use of self-gripping mesh during laparoscopic TEP inguinal hernia repairs may eliminate the need for any additional fixation, and thus reduce post-operative pain without the added concern for mesh migration. Long-term outcomes are not yet prospectively studied in a controlled fashion.
Methods: Under IRB approval, from January 2011-April 2013, 91 hernias were repaired laparoscopically with self-gripping mesh without additional fixation. Patients were followed for at least 1 year. Demographics and intraoperative data (defect location, size, and mesh deployment time) are recorded. VAS is used in the recovery room (RR) to score pain, and the Carolinas Comfort Scale ™ (CCS), a validated 0-5 pain/quality of life (QoL) score where a mean score of >1.0 means symptomatic pain, is employed at 2 weeks and at 1 year. Morbidities, narcotic usage, days to full activity and return to work, and CCS scores are reported.
Results: Sixty two patients, with 91 hernias repaired with self-gripping mesh, completed follow-up at a mean time period of 14.8 months. Seventeen hernias were direct defects (average size 3.0 cm). Mesh deployment time was 193.7 s. RR pain was 1.1/10 using a VAS. Total average oxycodone/acetaminophen (5 mg/325 mg) usage = 5.0 tablets, days to full activity was 1.6, and return to work was 4.2 days. Thirteen small asymptomatic seromas were palpated without any recurrences or groin tenderness, and all seromas resolved by the 6 month visit. Transient testis discomfort was reported in five patients. Urinary retention was 3.2%. Mean CCS™ scores at the first visit for groin pain laying, bending, sitting, walking, and step-climbing were 0.2, 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, and 0.3, respectively. At the first post op visit, 4.8% had symptomatic pain (CCS > 1). At 14.8 months, no patients reported symptomatic pain with CCS scores for all 62 patients averaging 0.02, (range 0-0.43). There are no recurrences thus far.
Conclusions: Self-gripping mesh can be safely used during laparoscopic TEP inguinal hernia repairs; our cohort had a rapid recovery, and at the 1-year follow-up visit, there were no recurrences and no patients reported any chronic pain as defined by a CCS™ > 1.