Variation of ventral and incisional hernia repairs in kidney transplant recipients

Surg Endosc. 2023 Apr;37(4):3173-3179. doi: 10.1007/s00464-022-09505-2. Epub 2022 Aug 12.


Introduction: As survivorship following kidney transplant continues to improve, so does the probability of intervening on common surgical conditions, such as ventral or incisional hernia, in this population. Ventral hernia management is known to vary across institutions and this variation has an impact on patient outcomes. We sought to evaluate hospital level variation of ventral or incisional hernia repair (VIHR) in the kidney transplant population.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 100% inpatient Medicare claims to identify patients who underwent kidney transplant between 2007 and 2018. The primary outcome was 1- and 3-year ventral or incisional risk- and reliability-adjusted VIHR rates. Patient and hospital characteristics were evaluated across risk- and reliability-adjusted VIHR rate tertiles. Models were adjusted for age, sex, race, and Elixhauser comorbidities.

Results: Overall, 139,741 patients underwent kidney transplant during the study period with a mean age (SD) of 51.6 (13.7) years. 84,717 (60.6%) were male, and 72,657 (52.0%) were white. Median follow up time was 5.4 years. 2098 (1.50%) patients underwent VIHR. the 1 year risk- and reliability-adjusted hernia repair rates were 0.49% (95% Conf idence Interval (CI) 0.48-0.51, range 0.31-0.59) in tertile 1, 0.63% (95% CI 0.62-0.63, range 0.59-0.68) in tertile 2, and 0.98 (95% CI 0.91-1.05, range 0.68-2.94) in tertile 3. Accordingly, compared to hospitals in tertile 1, the odds of post-transplant hernia repair tertile 2 hospitals were 1.78 (95% CI 1.37-2.31) and at tertile 3 hospitals 3.53 (95% CI 2.87-4.33).

Conclusions: In a large cohort of Medicare patients undergoing kidney transplant, the overall cumulative incidence of hernia repair varied substantially across hospital tertiles. Patient and hospital characteristics varied across tertile, most notably in diabetes and obesity. Future research is needed to understand if program and surgeon level factors are contributing to the observed variation in treatment of this common disease.

Keywords: Hospital variation; Incisional hernia; Transplant; Ventral hernia repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hernia, Ventral* / epidemiology
  • Hernia, Ventral* / etiology
  • Hernia, Ventral* / surgery
  • Herniorrhaphy
  • Humans
  • Incisional Hernia* / epidemiology
  • Incisional Hernia* / etiology
  • Incisional Hernia* / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Medicare
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Mesh
  • United States / epidemiology