Low Recurrence Rate After Laparoscopic (TEP) and Open (Lichtenstein) Inguinal Hernia Repair: A Randomized, Multicenter Trial With 5-Year Follow-Up

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To compare a laparoscopic (totally extraperitoneal patch (TEP)) and an open technique (Lichtenstein) for inguinal hernia repair regarding recurrence rate and possible risk factors for recurrence.

Summary Background Data:

Laparoscopic hernia repair has been introduced as an alternative to open repair. Short-term follow-up suggests benefits for those patients operated with a laparoscopic approach compared with open techniques; ie, less postoperative pain and a shorter convalescence period. Long-term results, however, are less well known.


The study was conducted as a multicenter randomized trial with a 5-year follow-up. A total of 1512 men aged 30 to 70 years, with a primary unilateral inguinal hernia, were randomized to either TEP or Lichtenstein repair.


Overall, 665 patients in the TEP group and 705 patients in the Lichtenstein group were evaluable. The cumulative recurrence rate was 3.5% in the TEP group and 1.2% in the Lichtenstein group (P = 0.008). Test for heterogeneity revealed significant differences between individual surgeons. The exclusion of 1 surgeon, who was responsible for 33% (7 of 21) of all recurrences in the TEP group, lowered the cumulative recurrence rate to 2.4% in this group, which was not statistically different from that of the Lichtenstein group.


The recurrence rate for both TEP and Lichtenstein repair was low. A higher cumulative recurrence rate in the TEP group was seen at 5 years. Further analysis revealed that this could be attributable to incorrect surgical technique.

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