Background: In the new international guidelines only the mesh-based Lichtenstein, TEP and TAPP techniques are recommended. This present analysis of data from the Herniamed Registry compares the outcome for Shouldice versus Lichtenstein, TEP and TAPP.
Methods: Propensity score matching analyses were performed to obtain homogeneous comparison groups for Shouldice versus Lichtenstein (n = 2115/2608; 81.1%), Shouldice versus TEP (n = 2225/2608; 85.3%) and Shouldice versus TAPP (2400/2608; 92.0%).
Results: The most important characteristics of the Shouldice patient collective were younger patients with a mean age of 40 years, a large proportion of women of 30%, a mean BMI value of 24 and a proportion of defect sizes up to 3 cm of over 85%. For this selected patient collective, propensity score matched-pair analysis did not identify any difference in the perioperative and one-year follow-up outcome compared with TAPP, fewer intraoperative (0.5 vs. 1.3%; p = 0.009) but somewhat more postoperative complications (2.3 vs. 1.5%; p = 0.050) compared with TEP and advantages with regard to pain at rest (4.6 vs. 6.1%; p = 0.039) and on exertion (10.0 vs. 13.4%; p < 0.001) compared with the Lichtenstein technique.
Conclusion: For a selected group of patients the Shouldice technique can be used for primary unilateral inguinal hernia repair while achieving an outcome comparable to that of Lichtenstein, TEP and TAPP operations.