In 2014, the International Endohernia Society (IEHS) published the first international "Guidelines for laparoscopic treatment of ventral and incisional abdominal wall hernias." Guidelines reflect the currently best available evidence in diagnostics and therapy and give recommendations to help surgeons to standardize their techniques and to improve their results. However, science is a dynamic field which is continuously developing. Therefore, guidelines require regular updates to keep pace with the evolving literature.
Methods: For the development of the original guidelines, all relevant literature published up to year 2012 was analyzed using the ranking of the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. For the present update, all of the previous authors were asked to evaluate the literature published during the recent years from 2012 to 2017 and revise their statements and recommendations given in the initial guidelines accordingly. In two Consensus Conferences (October 2017 Beijing, March 2018 Cologne), the updates were presented, discussed, and confirmed. To avoid redundancy, only new statements or recommendations are included in this paper. Therefore, for full understanding both of the guidelines, the original and the current, must be read. In addition, the new developments in repair of abdominal wall hernias like surgical techniques within the abdominal wall, release operations (transversus muscle release, component separation), Botox application, and robot-assisted repair methods were included.
Results: Due to an increase of the number of patients and further development of surgical techniques, repair of primary and secondary abdominal wall hernias attracts increasing interests of many surgeons. Whereas up to three decades ago hernia-related publications did not exceed 20 per year, currently this number is about 10-fold higher. Recent years are characterized by the advent of new techniques-minimal invasive techniques using robotics and laparoscopy, totally extraperitoneal repairs, novel myofascial release techniques for optimal closure of large defects, and Botox for relaxing the abdominal wall. Furthermore, a concomitant rectus diastasis was recognized as a significant risk factor for recurrence. Despite insufficient evidence with respect to these new techniques, it seemed to us necessary to include them in the update to stimulate surgeons to do research in these fields.
Conclusion: Guidelines are recommendations based on best available evidence intended to help the surgeon to improve the quality of his daily work. However, science is a continuously evolving process, and as such guidelines should be updated about every 3 years. For a comprehensive reference, however, it is suggested to read both the initial guidelines published in 2014 together with the update. Moreover, the presented update includes also techniques which were not known 3 years before.
Keywords: Emilos; Endoscopic sublay; IPOM; Laparoscopic repair; Milos; Open sublay repair; Primary ventral hernias; Rectus diastasis; Secondary ventral hernias; Update guidelines; Ventral hernia repair; abdominal wall hernia; eTEP.