Introduction: The recommendation in the European Hernia Society Guidelines for the treatment of recurrent inguinal hernias is to modify the technique in relation to the previous technique, and use a new plane of dissection for mesh implantation. However, the registry data show that even following previous open suture and mesh repair to treat a primary inguinal hernia, open suture and mesh repair can be used once again for a recurrent hernia. It is therefore important to know what the outcome of open repair of recurrent inguinal hernias is compared with open repair of primary inguinal hernias, while taking the previous operation into account.
Patients and methods: In the Herniamed Registry, a total of 17,594 patients with an open primary or recurrent unilateral inguinal hernia repair in men with a 1-year follow-up were prospectively documented between September 1, 2009 and August 31, 2013. Of these patients, 15,274 (86.8 %) had an open primary and 2320 (13.2 %) open recurrent repair. In the unadjusted and multivariable analyses, the dependent variables were intra- and postoperative complications, reoperations, recurrences, pain at rest, pain on exertion, and pain requiring treatment.
Results: Open recurrent repair compared with the open primary operation is a significant influence factor for higher intraoperative (p = 0.01) and postoperative (p = 0.05) complication rates, recurrence rate (p < 0.001), and pain rates (p < 0.001). With regard to repair of recurrent inguinal hernia, previous open mesh repair was associated with the least favorable outcome, and with the highest odds ratio, for all outcome criteria. Open recurrent repair following previous endoscopic operation presented the least risk for postoperative complications, complication-related reoperations, and re-recurrences. The pain rates identified on follow-up after open recurrent repair were lower following previous open suture operation compared with following open and endoscopic mesh repair. A significantly less favorable perioperative and 1-year follow-up outcome must be expected for open repair of recurrent inguinal hernia in comparison with open primary inguinal hernia repair. After open recurrent repair, the most favorable perioperative complication and recurrence rates were identified following previous endoscopic repair, and the lowest pain rates following previous open suture repair. Open recurrent repair following previous open mesh operation was associated with the highest risks for perioperative complications, re-recurrences, and pain.