The Treatment of Incisional Hernia

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2018 Jan 19;115(3):31-37. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2018.0031.


Background: A meta-analysis of studies from multiple countries has shown that the incidence of incisional hernia varies from 4% to 10% depending on the type of operation. No epidemiological surveys have been conducted so far. The worst possible complication of an incisional hernia if it is not treated surgically is incarceration. In this article, we present the main surgical methods of treating this condition. We also evaluate the available randomized and controlled trials (RCTs) in which open and laparoscopic techniques were compared and analyze the patients' quality of life.

Methods: We selectively searched PubMed for relevant literature using the search terms "incisional hernia" and "randomized controlled trial." 9 RCTs were included in the analysis. The endpoints of the meta-analysis were the number of reoperations, complications, and recurrences. The observed events were studied statistically by correlation of two unpaired groups with a fixed-effects model and with a random-effects model. We analyzed the quality of life in our.

Results: Open surgery and laparoscopic surgery for the repair of incisional hernias have similar rates of reoperation (odds ratio [OR] 0.419 favoring laparoscopy, 95% confidence interval [0.159; 1.100]; p = 0.077). The rates of surgical complications are also similar (OR 0.706; 95% CI [0.278; 1.783]; p = 0.461), although the data are highly heterogeneous, and the recurrence rates are comparable as well (OR 1.301; 95% CI [0,761; 2,225]; p = 0.336). In our own patient cohort in Würzburg, the quality of life was better in multiple categories one year after surgery.

Conclusion: The operative treatment of incisional hernia markedly improves patients' quality of life. The currently available evidence regarding the complication rates of open and laparoscopic surgical repair is highly heterogeneous, and further RCTs on this subject would therefore be desirable. Moreover, new study models are needed so that well-founded individualized treatment algorithms can be developed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Hernia, Ventral
  • Herniorrhaphy*
  • Humans
  • Incisional Hernia / surgery*
  • Laparoscopy
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence