While using sublay mesh continues to be standard practice when performing ventral hernia repair (VHR), a recent study shows that using onlay mesh placement with adhesive can be just as safe, at least in the short term.
“While the use of mesh during VHR is well accepted, the ideal location of mesh placement remains heavily debated,” wrote the study’s authors, adding that the “paucity of high-level data has led the choice of mesh location to reside primarily on the preference of the surgeon rather than grounded in clinical outcomes.”
The investigators identified patients in thenational registry who were undergoing open, elective VHR and had clean wounds and a wound class I designation based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines at any point between January 2013 and January 2016. A total of 1,854 individuals were ultimately selected for inclusion in the study and were divided into two groups: one that received traditional VHR with sublay mesh and one that received onlay mesh with adhesive.
All subjects’ data were analyzed within 30 days for any adverse events related to the wounds from the surgery. These events were surgical site infections, surgical site occurrences – which could include an infection and any skin or soft tissue ischemia, necrosis, or other events – and surgical site occurrences that required procedural intervention, which were defined as any occurrences that required “opening of the wound, wound debridement, suture excision, percutaneous drainage, or partial or complete mesh removal.”
The sublay cohort numbered 1,761 (95.0%), compared with 93 (5.0%) who received the onlay technique. There was no significant difference found in the rate of 30-day adverse incidents between the two cohorts. For surgical site infections, the sublay cohort rate was 2.9%, while the onlay cohort had a 5.5% rate (P = .30). Surgical site occurrences happened in 15.2% of sublay patients versus 7.7% of those in the other group (P = .08), while surgical site occurrences that required procedural intervention were 8.2% in sublay patients but 5.5% in onlay patients (P = .42).
While both approaches fared similarly in terms of comorbidities and averagegrade, the investigators recommend that “the Chevrel onlay technique be used in nonobese patients without significant comorbidities, with moderate hernia defects, and whose abdominal wall vasculatures are without risk of compromise.” The data were generalizable because of the number of surgeons performing VHR and because the data sample allowed the investigators to control for the hernia width, defect size, and patient comorbidities this case, leading to this conclusion.
“Additional studies are needed to determine the long-term benefits of both approaches with respect to mesh infection rates and hernia recurrence rates, as well as the ideal mesh location for ventral hernia repairs in higher-risk patients,” the authors concluded.
No funding source was disclosed for this study. The investigators reported no relevant financial disclosures.