Background: Current ventral hernia repair risk estimation tools focus on patient comorbidities with the goal of improving clinical outcomes through improved patient selection. However, their predictive value remains unproven. Methods: Outcomes of patients who underwent midline ventral hernia repair with retrorectus placement of mid-weight soft polypropylene mesh between 2010 and 2015 were retrospectively reviewed and compared with predicted wound-related complication risk from 3 tools in the literature: Carolinas Equation for Determining Associated Risk, the Ventral Hernia Working Group (VHWG) grade, and a modified VHWG grade. Results: A total of 101 patients underwent hernia repair. Mean age was 56 years and mean body mass index was 29 m/kg2 (range, 18-51 m/kg2). We found no significant relationship between the risk estimated by Carolinas Equation for Determining Associated Risk (B = 1.45, P = 0.61) and actual wound-related complications. VHWG grades >1 were not statistically different with regard to rate of wound complication compared with VHWG grade 1 (grade 2: B = 0.05, P = 0.95; grade 3: B = -0.21, P = 0.86; grade 4: B = 2.57, P = 0.10). Modified VHWG grades >1 were not statistically different with regard to rate of wound complication compared with modified VHWG grade 1 (grade 2: B = 0.20, P = 0.80; grade 3: B = 1.03, P = 0.41). Conclusions: Current risk stratification tools overemphasize patient factors, ignoring the importance of technique in minimizing complications and recurrence. We attribute our low complication rate to retrorectus placement of a narrow, macroporous polypropylene mesh with up to 45 suture fixation points for force distribution in contrast to current strategies that employ wide meshes with minimal fixation.
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