Comparison of intra- and extra-corporeal laparoscopic hernia repair in children: A systematic review and pooled data-analysis

J Pediatr Surg. 2021 Sep;56(9):1647-1656. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.01.049. Epub 2021 Feb 6.


Background: Laparoscopic surgery is increasingly used to repair paediatric inguinal hernias and can be divided into intra- or extra-corporeal closing techniques. No statement regarding the superiority of one of the two techniques can be made. This study aims to provide evidence supporting the superiority of intra- or extra-corporeal suturing technique.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE, and Cochrane Library databases. Randomised controlled trials and prospective studies comparing different laparoscopic techniques were eligible for inclusion. Data were pooled using a random-effects model, comparing single-port extra-peritoneal closure to intra-peritoneal purse string suture closing. Primary outcome was recurrence rate. Secondary outcomes were duration of surgery (min), peri‑ and post-operative complications (i.e. injury of spermatic vessels or spermatic cord, tuba lesions, bleeding and apnoea, haematoma/scrotal oedema, hydrocele, wound infection, iatrogenic ascent of the testis and testicular atrophy), contralateral patent processus vaginalis (CPPV) rate, post-operative pain, length of hospital stay and cosmetic appearance of the wound.

Results: Fifteen studies (n = 3680 patients, age range 0.5-12 years, follow-up range 3-10 months) were included is this systematic review. Intra-corporeal hernia repair was performed in 738 children and extra-corporeal repair was performed in 2942 children. A pooled data analysis could only be performed for the single port extra-corporeal closing technique and the three port intra-corporeal closing technique. We found that recurrence rate was lower in the single-port extra-corporeal closing technique compared to the intra-corporeal purse suture closing technique (0.6% vs 5.5%, 95% CI 0.107 (0.024-0.477); p < 0.001). Operation time was shorter for extra-corporeal unilateral and bilateral inguinal hernia repair compared with intra-corporeal approach, but no pooled data analysis could be performed. Due to the presence of substantial heterogeneity, it was not possible to assess other outcome measures.

Conclusion: Single-port extra-corporeal closure seems to result in less recurrent hernias and a shorter operative time compared to intra-corporeal purse suture closing technique. No difference regarding peri‑ and post-operative complications could be found and no statements regarding the length of hospital admission, post-operative pain and cosmetics could be made due to substantial heterogeneity.

Level of evidence: Level II.

Keywords: Children/child; Inguinal hernia; Laparoscopic/laparoscopy; Paediatric.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Data Analysis
  • Hernia, Inguinal* / surgery
  • Herniorrhaphy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome