Background: Ventral hernia repair (VHR) is a commonly performed procedure and is especially prevalent in patients who have undergone previous open abdominal surgery: up to 28% of patients who have undergone laparotomy will develop a ventral hernia. There is increasing interest in robotic-assisted VHR (RVHR) as a minimally invasive approach to VHR not requiring myofascial release and in RVHR outcomes relative to outcomes associated with laparoscopic VHR (LVHR). We hypothesized real-world evidence from the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative (AHSQC) database will indicate comparable clinical outcomes from RVHR and LVHR approaches not employing myofascial release.
Methods: Retrospective, comparative analysis of prospectively collected data describing laparoscopic and robotic-assisted elective ventral hernia repair procedures reported in the multi-institutional AHSQC database. A one-to-one propensity score matching algorithm identified comparable groups of patients to adjust for potential selection bias that could result from surgeon choice of repair approach.
Results: Matched data describe preoperative characteristics and perioperative outcomes in 615 patients in each group. The following significant differences were observed among the 11 outcomes that were pre-specified. Operative time tended to be longer for the RVHR group compared to the LVHR group (p < 0.001). Length of stay differed between the two groups; while both groups had a median length of stay of 0, stay lengths tended to be longer in the LVHR group (p < 0.001). Rates of conversion to laparotomy were fewer for the RVHR group: < 1% and 2%, respectively (p = 0.007). Through 30 days, there were fewer RVHR patient-clinic visits (p = 0.038).
Conclusion: Both RVHR and LVHR perioperative results compare favorably with each other in most measures. Differences favored RVHR in terms of shorter LOS, fewer conversions to laparotomy, and fewer postoperative clinic visits; differences favored LVHR in terms of shorter operative times.
Keywords: AHSQC; Hernia; Incisional hernia; Laparoscopic; Robotic-assisted; Ventral hernia repair.