Objectives: Incisional hernia, a serious complication after laparotomy, is associated with high morbidity and costs. This trial examines the value of prophylactic intraperitoneal onlay mesh to reduce the risk of incisional hernia after a median follow-up time of 5.3 years.
Methods: We conducted a parallel group, open-label, single center, randomized controlled trial (NCT01003067). After midline incision, the participants were either allocated to abdominal wall closure according to Everett with a PDS-loop running suture reinforced by an intraperitoneal composite mesh strip (Group A) or the same procedure without the additional mesh strip (Group B).
Results: A total of 276 patients were randomized (Group A = 131; Group B = 136). Follow-up data after a median of 5.3 years after surgery were available from 183 patients (Group A = 95; Group B = 88). Incisional hernia was diagnosed in 25/95 (26%) patients in Group A and in 46/88 (52%) patients in Group B (risk ratio 0.52; 95% CI 0.36-0.77; p < 0.001). Eighteen patients with asymptomatic incisional hernia went for watchful waiting instead of hernia repair and remained free of symptoms after of a median follow-up of 5.1 years. Between the second- and fifth-year follow-up period, no complication associated with the mesh could be detected.
Conclusion: The use of a composite mesh in intraperitoneal onlay position significantly reduces the risk of incisional hernia during a 5-year follow-up period.
Trial registration number: Ref. NCT01003067 (clinicaltrials.gov).