Conference Coverage

Dexamethasone lowered risk of urinary retention in laparoscopic hernia repair


Key clinical point: Patients given dexamethasone intraoperatively were less likely to have urinary retention.

Major finding: The dexamethasone group was less likely to have urinary retention, 3.7% versus 9.8% (P = 0.0001).

Study details: A review of 955 laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs.

Disclosures: There was no external funding for the work, and the investigators had no disclosures.

Source: Denham M et al. SAGES 2018, Abstract S006.



– Intraoperative dexamethasone more than halved the risk of urinary retention following laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair in 955 men at the NorthShore University HealthSystem, Chicago.

Urinary retention occurs in up to a third of hernia repair patients. Men are at far higher risk than women; benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and older age also increase the risk.

Merritt Denham

Merritt Denham

Intraoperative dexamethasone is a common antiemetic. The investigators had a hunch that it also reduces urinary retention by calming overstimulation of the bladder neck and prostate during the operation. “We believe this overstimulation” causes urinary retention, lead investigator Merritt Denham, BS, said at the World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery hosted by SAGES & CAGS.

She and her team went back in the records about 8 years to compare 617 laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair patients who received intraoperative dexamethasone with 338 who did not. They were all men: women were excluded from the review. The men voided before surgery. Those who received dexamethasone received more fluids during the operation than those who did not, a mean of 973 mL versus 878 mL (P = .0019).

Even so, urinary retention was far less likely in the dexamethasone group (3.7% vs. 9.8%; P = .0001). Controlling for age and BPH, the corticosteroid was highly protective (odds ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-0.87; P = .0147). The benefit was the same regardless of the intraoperative dexamethasone dosage, which ranged from 4 mg to 8 mg.

Dexamethasone patients had a shorter length of stay, and, counterintuitively, fewer surgical site infections (0.2% vs. 1.7%; P = .0109). They were also less likely to have BPH (16.7% vs. 22.5%; P = 0.026). The urinary retention odds ratio controlled for the difference in BPH.

The results are “interesting, but I don’t think the conclusion is there yet; there are a lot of variables to consider. We need more data,” said moderator Eduardo Parra-Davila, MD, FACS, director of minimally invasive and colorectal surgery at Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Celebration, Fla.

In both groups, mean body mass index was about 26 kg/m2, mean age about 57 years, and mean operative time about 40 minutes. Four general surgeons performed the repairs.

There was no external funding for the work, and the investigators had no disclosures.

SOURCE: Denham M. et al. SAGES 2018, Abstract S006.

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