Incisional Hernia After Midline Versus Transverse Specimen Extraction Incision: A Randomized Trial in Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Colectomy

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To compare the incidence of incisional hernia (IH) between midline and transverse specimen extraction site in patients undergoing laparoscopic colectomy.


Midline specimen extraction incision is most commonly used in laparoscopic colectomy, but has high IH risk. IH may be lower for transverse incision.


A single-center superiority trial was conducted. Eligible patients undergoing laparoscopic colectomy were randomly assigned to midline or transverse specimen extraction. Primary outcome was IH incidence at 1 year. Power calculation required 76 patients per group to detect a reduction in IH from 20% to 5%. Secondary outcomes included perioperative outcomes, pain scores, health-related quality of life (SF-36), and cosmesis (Body Image Questionnaire).


A total of 165 patients were randomly assigned to transverse (n = 79) or midline (n = 86) specimen extraction site, of which 141 completed 1-year follow-up (68 transverse, 73 midline). Patient, tumor, surgical data, and perioperative morbidity were similar. Pain scores were similar on each postoperative day. On intention-to-treat analysis, there was no difference in the incidence of IH at 1 year (transverse 2% vs midline 8%, P = 0.065) or after mean 30.3 month (standard deviation 9.4) follow-up (6% vs 14%, P = 0.121). On per-protocol analysis there were more IH after midline incision with longer follow-up (15% vs 2%, P = 0.013). On intention-to-treat analysis, SF-36 domains body pain and social functioning were improved after transverse incision. Cosmesis was higher after midline incision on per-protocol analysis, but without affecting body image.


Per-protocol analysis of this trial demonstrates that a transverse specimen extraction site has a lower incidence of IH compared to midline with longer follow-up but has worse cosmesis.

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