Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 1066–1074 | Cite as

Internal hernia after laparoscopic colorectal surgery: an under-reported potentially severe complication. A systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Giuseppe PortaleEmail author
  • George Octavian Popescu
  • Matteo Parotto
  • Francesco Cavallin
Review Article



Internal hernia following laparoscopic colorectal surgery is often under-reported. The aim of this review was to evaluate the occurrence rate of internal hernia following laparoscopic colorectal surgery, and to describe clinical presentation and management strategies.


A comprehensive literature review was conducted including MEDLINE/Pubmed, EMBASE, SCOPUS,, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews through April 2018. The review was conducted according to MOOSE guidelines. Quality was appraised with the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS) tool. Meta-analysis was performed using a random effects model. Studies reporting data on internal hernia after laparoscopic colorectal surgery were included.


Ten observational studies with a total of 8453 patients were included. All included articles were non-comparative prospective or retrospective cohort studies with an average MINORS score of 8.3 (range 6–11). Summary estimate of proportion of patients developing internal hernia after laparoscopic colorectal resection was 0.5% (95% CI 0.3–0.8%). Heterogeneity was moderate (I2 46%, p = 0.03) and study size (> 1000 vs. <1000 patients) was found to have a significant contribution to heterogeneity (p = 0.002). Thirty patients (90.9%) required surgery, with 5 non-fatal and 3 fatal postoperative complications. Quality of some studies was limited; some patients were followed up for less than 1 year; primary surgical procedures included different laparoscopic approaches.


Occurrence rate of internal hernia after laparoscopic colorectal resection is around 5 per 1000 patients. Small-sized studies are likely to overestimate the occurrence of internal hernia. Need for reoperation is high with a substantial risk of mortality.


Systematic review Internal hernia Laparoscopy Colorectal surgery Morbidity Mortality 



The authors wish to thank the corresponding authors of two studies included in this systematic review who kindly provided additional information upon request.

Compliance with ethical standards


Drs. Giuseppe Portale, George Octavian Popescu, Matteo Parotto, and Francesco Cavallin have no conflict of interests or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryAzienda ULSS 6, CittadellaCittadellaItaly
  2. 2.Department of General and Visceral SurgeryKlinikum Aschaffenburg-AlzenauAschaffenburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesia and Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Independent StatisticianSolagnaItaly

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