Background: Black patients and older adults are less likely to receive minimally invasive hernia repair. These differences by race and age may be influenced by surgeon-specific utilization rate of minimally invasive repair. In this study, we explored the association between race, age, and surgeon utilization of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) with the likelihood of receiving MIS inguinal hernia repair.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed in patients undergoing elective primary inguinal hernia repair from 2012 to 2016, using data from the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, a 72-hospital clinical registry. Surgeons were stratified by proportion of MIS performed. Using hierarchical logistic regression models, we investigated the association between receiving MIS repair and race, age, and surgeon MIS utilization rate.
Results: Out of 4667 patients, 1253 (27%) received MIS repair. Out of 190 surgeons, 81 (43%) performed only open repair. Controlling for surgeon MIS utilization, race was not associated with MIS receipt (OR 0.93, p = 0.775), but older patients were less likely to receive MIS repair (OR 0.41, p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Race differences were explained by surgeon MIS utilization, implicating access to MIS-performing surgeon as a mediator. Conversely, age disparity was independent of MIS utilization, even after adjusting for comorbidities, indicating some degree of provider bias against performing MIS repair in older patients. Interventions to address disparities should include systematic efforts to improve access, as well as provider and patient education for older adults.
Keywords: Inguinal hernia repair; Laparoscopy; Minimally invasive surgery; Robotic inguinal hernia repair; Surgical disparity; Surgical technology.