Background: The aim of international health cooperation projects is to alleviate the deficiencies in the area of health in low resource settings. Hernia surgery is a procedure that is well suited to these missions, due to its low morbidity, the fact that it can be performed on an outpatient basis, and the improvement in quality of life that it provides.
Objective: To describe the results of Benefica Chirurgia (BC), a Spanish non-profit humanitarian association in hernia pathology.
Methods: Five one-week surgical campaigns were carried out in Ecuador between 2015 and 2019, involving anesthetists, general and pediatric surgeons. Surgical and medical equipment was provided and transported by BC. ASA I/II patients underwent surgery.
Results: Surgery was performed on 240 patients with hernia pathology on 27 days. Sixty-three per cent of patients were male and the mean age was 48.2 years (range: 1-83). Hernia location was inguinal in 113 patients, umbilical in 101, and other in 26. The anesthetic technique used was spinal in 185 patients (77.1%), local plus intravenous sedation in 31 (12.9%), and general in 24 (10%). The surgical technique used was hernioplasty in 191 patients, herniorrhaphy in 31, incisional hernia repair in 15 and herniotomy in three. Surgery was performed on an outpatient basis in 98.4% of cases. Morbidity was 2%. Long-term postoperative evaluation is very complex.
Conclusion: These campaigns make a significant contribution to health in low resource settings and provide great personal satisfaction for those involved. Standards achieved in the immediate postoperative period were similar to those obtained at the surgeons' centers in Europe. However, it is difficult to establish the rates of recurrence and chronic pain.
Keywords: Ambulatory; Global surgery; Hernia; Hernioplasty.
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