Comparison of endoscopic procedures vs Lichtenstein and other open mesh techniques for inguinal hernia repair: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

  • C. G. Schmedt
  • S. Sauerland
  • R. Bittner
Original article



For the scientific evaluation of the endoscopic and open mesh techniques for the repair of inguinal hernia, meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCT) are necessary. The Lichtenstein repair is one of the most common open mesh techniques and therefore of special interest.


After an extensive search of the literature and a quality assessment, a total of 34 RCT comparing endoscopic procedures both transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) and total extraperitoneal (TEP)—with various open mesh repairs were deemed to be suitable for a formal meta-analysis of the relevant parameters. These studies included data for 7,223 patients. Trials that used the Lichtenstein repair for the control group (23 of 34 trials) were analyzed-separately.


Significant advantages for the endoscopic procedures compared with the Lichtenstein repair include a lower incidence of wound infection (Peto odds ratio, 0.39; 95% confidence interval, 0.26, 0.61), a reduction in hematoma formation (0.69 [0.54, 0.90]) and nerve injury (0.46 [0.35, 0.61]), an earlier return to normal activities or work (–1.35[–1.72, –0.97]), and fewer incidences of chronic pain syndrome (0.56[0.44, 0.70]). No difference was found in total morbidity or in the incidence of intestinal lesions, urinary bladder lesions, major vascular lesions, urinary retention and testicular problems. Significant advantages for the Lichtenstein repair include in a shorter operating time (5.45[1.18, 9.73]), a lower incidence of seroma formation (1.42[1.13, 1.79]), and fewer hernia recurrences (2.00[1.46, 2.74]). Similar results are seen when endoscopic procedures are compared with other open mesh repairs. However, in this comparison, total morbidity was lower with the endoscopic operations (0.73[0.61, 0.89]). The incidence of seroma formation, chronic pain syndromes, and hernia recurrence was not significantly different.


Endoscopic repairs do have advantages interms of local complications and pain-associated parameters. For more detailed evaluation further well-structured trials with improved standardization of hernia type, operative technique, and surgeons’ experience are necessary.


Groin hernia Endoscopy Randomized controlled trials Evidence-based medicine Meta–analysis Herniotraphy Lichtenstein repair 



We thank the following members of workgroup 8 of the National Consensus Conference for Hernia Surgery (Magdeburg, Germany, 28–30 November 2002) for their support: K. H. Bauer (Bochum), D. Birk (Zweibruecken), H. Keller (Donaueschingen), T. Manger (Gera), G. Meyer (Munich), and C. Peiper (Witten). Thanks also go to A. Hollins for her translation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Biochemical and Experimental Division, Medical FacultyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Department of General SurgeryMarienhospital StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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