Open, Laparoscopic, and Robotic Inguinal Hernia Repair: Outcomes and Predictors of Complications

Sergio Huerta, Corey Timmerman, Madison Argo, Juan Favela, Thai Pham, Sachin S Kukreja, Jingsheng Yan, Hong Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: The robotic approach to an inguinal hernia has not been compared head to head with the open and laparoscopic techniques in randomized controlled trials. Furthermore, long-term outcomes for robotic inguinal hernia repair (RHR) are lacking. In this study, we compared laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair (LHR) and RHR with open inguinal hernia repair (OHR) in veteran patients performed by surgeons most familiar with each approach. Methods: A retrospective single-institution analysis of 1299 inguinal hernia repairs performed at the VA North Texas Health Care System between 2005 and 2017 was undertaken. Three surgeons performed the operations, each an expert in one approach, and there was no crossover in techniques. A total of 1100 OHRs, 128 LHRs, and 71 RHRs were performed. Univariable analysis was undertaken to determine associations between techniques and outcomes (OHR versus LHR; OHR versus RHR; LHR versus RHR). Setting complications as a dependent variable, multivariable analyses were undertaken to determine an association with complications as well as independent predictors of complications. Results: Patient demographics were similar among groups except for age that was higher in the OHR cohort. The average follow-up was 5.2 ± 3.4 y. In the present report, recurrence was associated with a higher rate in the RHR versus OHR (5.6% versus 1.7%; P < 0.02), but not in the LHR versus OHR (3.9% versus 1.9%; P = 0.09). Inguinodynia was more likely to occur in both the LHR and RHR compared with the OHR (9.4% and 14.1 versus 1.5%; both P's < 0.001). Urinary retention was also more common in the LHR and RHR than in the OHR (5.5% and 5.6% versus 1.8%, both P's < 0.05) as was the rate of overall complications (34.4% and 38.0% versus 11.2%, both P's < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis showed femoral hernias, ASA, serum albumin, operative room time, a recurrent hernia, and the minimally invasive approaches were independent predictors of overall complications. Conclusions: Outcomes in the OHR cohort were, in general, superior compared with both the LHR and RHR. However, these strategies should be viewed as complementary. The best approach to an inguinal hernia repair rests on the specific expertise of the surgeon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Bassini repair
  • Hernia recurrence
  • Inguinodynia
  • McVay repair
  • Shouldice repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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