Outcomes and impact of laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair versus open inguinal hernia repair on healthcare spending and employee absenteeism



This study compares the impact of open (OIHR) versus laparoscopic (LIHR) inguinal hernia repair on healthcare spending and postoperative outcomes.


The TRUVEN database was queried using ICD9 procedure codes for open, laparoscopic, and robotic-assisted IHR, from 2012 to 2013. Patients > 18 years of age and continuously enrolled for 12 months postoperatively were included. Demographics, patient comorbidities, postoperative complications, pain medication use, length of hospital stay, missed work hours, postoperative visits, and overall expenditure were collected, and assessed at time of surgery and at 30-, 60-, 90-, 180-, and 365-days postoperatively. Statistical analysis was conducted using SAS, with α = 0.05.


66,116 patients were included (LIHR: N = 23,010; OIHR: N = 43,106). Robotic-assisted procedures were excluded due to small sample size (N = 61). The largest demographic was males between 55 and 64 years. LIHR had fewer surgical wound complications than OIHR (LIHR: 0.3%; OIHR: 0.5%, p = 0.007), less utilization of pain medication (LIHR: 23.3%; OIHR: 28.5%; p < 0.001), and fewer outpatient visits. In the 90-day postoperative period, LIHR had significantly fewer missed work hours (LIHR: 12.1 ± 23.2 h; OIHR: 12.9 ± 26.7 h, p = 0.023). LIHR had higher postoperative urinary complications (LIHR: 0.2%; OIHR: 0.1%; p < 0.001), consistent with the current literature. LIHR expenditures ($15,030 ± $25,906) were higher than OIHR ($13,303 ± 32,014), p < 0.001.


The results highlight the benefits of laparoscopic repair with regard to surgical wound complications, postoperative pain, outpatient visits, and missed work hours. These improved outcomes with respect to overall healthcare spending and employee absenteeism support the paradigm shift toward laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs, in spite of higher overall expenditures.

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Correspondence to Dmitry Oleynikov.

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Dr. Oleynikov declares conflict of interest directly related to the submitted work, having received a research grant support from Medtronic; not directly related to the submitted work, he is the stock holder of Virtual Incision Corporation. Dr. Rana, Dr. Armijo, Mr. Khan, Dr. Bills, Ms. Morien, and Dr. Zhang have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Rana, G., Armijo, P.R., Khan, S. et al. Outcomes and impact of laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair versus open inguinal hernia repair on healthcare spending and employee absenteeism. Surg Endosc 34, 821–828 (2020).

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  • Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair
  • Open inguinal hernia repair
  • Postoperative outcomes
  • Cost analysis
  • Healthcare costs