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Ventral hernias pose a substantial challenge for surgeons. Even though minimally invasive surgery and hernia repair have evolved rapidly, there is no standardised method that has been widely accepted as standard of practice. Hybrid ventral hernia repair (HVR) is an alternative surgical approach, which has not been adopted widely to date. It combines laparoscopic mesh insertion with closure of the hernia defect. The aim of this retrospective cohort study is to evaluate short- and long-term outcomes in patients undergoing HVR.
Between October 2012 and June 2016, 56 HVRs were performed at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College London. The medical records of these patients were reviewed retrospectively for demographics, comorbidities, previous surgeries, operative technique, complications and recurrences over a 3-year follow-up.
HVRs were performed by four surgeons. Mean age was 48 years with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 32.8 kg/m2. 71.4% had incisional hernias and 28.6% had primary hernias. The number of hernia defects ranged from 1 to 4, with average defect size 42.9 cm2 (range 8–200 cm2). Adhesiolysis was performed in 66.1% of patients. Recurrence occurred in 2 patients (3.6%), 16.1% of patients developed postoperative seroma, 0.3% had respiratory complications, 0.3% had paralytic ileus and 0.2% had urinary retention. Only 2 patients required epidural postoperatively, both had a defect size of 150.0 cm2. There were no reoperations within 90 days. Mean length of hospital stay was 2 days (1–10 days). Over the follow-up period, 2 patients (3.6%) developed chronic pain.
The hybrid technique is safe and feasible, and has important benefits including low rates of seroma formation, chronic pain and hernia recurrence. Future investigations may include randomised controlled trials to evaluate the benefits of VHR, with careful assessment of patient-reported outcome measures including quality of life and postoperative pain.