Introduction: To date, no randomized controlled trials have been carried out to compare the perioperative outcome of unilateral and bilateral inguinal hernia repair using an endoscopic technique. In a Swiss registry study comparing unilateral with bilateral inguinal hernias, no further details were given regarding the nature of the intra- and postoperative complications. In addition, some authors have raised the issue of prophylactic repair of a clinically healthy other groin side.
Patients and methods: In the Herniamed Registry, in total 9395 patients with a TEP were enrolled. These comprised 6700 patients with unilateral (71.31%) and 2695 patients (28.69%) with bilateral inguinal hernia repair. The outcome variables, analyzed in a multivariable model, were the intra- and postoperative as well as general complication rates, reoperation rate, duration of operation, and length of hospital stay.
Results: While no significant difference was found in the overall number of intraoperative complications between the unilateral and bilateral group (p=0.310), a significantly higher number of urinary bladder injuries in the bilateral TEP operation of 0.28% compared with 0.04% for unilateral TEP (p=0,008) were noted. The greater probability of reoperation (0.82% for unilateral vs. 1.78% for bilateral TEP; p<0,001) in the unadjusted analysis was confirmed in the multivariable model [OR 2.35 (1.504; 3.322); p=0.001]. A significantly higher intraoperative urinary bladder injury rate and reoperation rate because of postoperative surgical complications constitute a difference in the perioperative outcome between unilateral and bilateral TEP which that warrants attention. Based on these results, prophylactic operation of the healthy other groin should not be recommended.