Background: When considering an asymptomatic inguinal hernia, surgeons must weigh the risks of watchful waiting against the risk of operative complications. Laparoscopy offers the benefit of reduced postoperative pain, which, for appropriate surgical candidates, may strengthen the case for repair. This study compares general and disease-specific quality of life following totally extraperitoneal (TEP) laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair (LIHR) of asymptomatic and symptomatic hernias. Methods: We summarize prospective data from 387 patients who underwent TEP LIHR between 2009 and 2015 by four surgeons at a single institution. Asymptomatic individuals were identified by pain scores of zero at preoperative clinic visits. Validated quality of life (QOL) measurements were administered preoperatively and at 3 weeks, 6 months, and 1-year postop. Comparisons were made using Chi-square test, t test, or Mann–Whitney U test. Changes over time were assessed using longitudinal mixed effects models. Results: A cohort of 79 asymptomatic cases were compared to 308 symptomatic individuals. The asymptomatic cohort had larger median hernia defects (2.5 vs 2 cm, p < 0.01), was older (mean 63.0 vs 58.9 years, p = 0.03), included fewer indirect hernias (57.7 vs 74.9%, p < 0.01), took pain medication for fewer days (mean 1.2 ± 1.5 vs 2.2 ± 3.0 days, p = 0.02), returned to baseline activities of daily living earlier (median 3 vs 5 days, p < 0.01), and reported decreased postoperative pain (p = 0.02). There was no significant difference in general QOL. There was one recurrence in the asymptomatic group and were two in the symptomatic cohort. Conclusions: Asymptomatic individuals undergoing TEP LIHR reported less postoperative pain, returned to baseline activities, and discontinued pain medication sooner than symptomatic patients. These results are encouraging and may inform patient-centered discussions about asymptomatic hernia repair.
- Totally extraperitoneal
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