Objective: To determine whether absorbable or nonabsorbable mesh repair of large hiatus hernias is followed by less recurrences at late follow-up compared to sutured repair.
Summary of background data: Radiological recurrences have been reported in up to 30% of patients after repair of large hiatus hernias, and mesh repair has been proposed as a solution. Earlier trials have revealed mixed outcomes and early outcomes from a trial reported previously revealed no short-term advantages for mesh repair.
Methods: Multicentre prospective double-blind randomized controlled trial of 3 methods of hiatus hernia repair; sutures versus absorbable mesh versus nonabsorbable mesh. Primary outcome - hernia recurrence assessed by barium meal X-ray and endoscopy at 3-4 years. Secondary outcomes - clinical symptom scores at 2, 3, and 5 years.
Results: 126 patients were enrolled - 43 sutures, 41 absorbable mesh, and 42 nonabsorbable mesh. Clinical outcomes were obtained at 5 years in 89.9%, and objective follow-up was obtained in 72.3%. A recurrent hernia (any size) was identified in 39.3% after suture repair, 56.7% - absorbable mesh, and 42.9% - nonabsorbable mesh (P = 0.371). Clinical outcomes were similar at 5 years, except chest pain, diarrhea, and bloat symptoms which were more common after repair with absorbable mesh.
Conclusions: No advantages were demonstrated for mesh repair at up to 5 years follow-up, and symptom outcomes were worse after repair with absorbable mesh. The longer-term results from this trial do not support mesh repair for large hiatus hernias.