After the introduction of mesh in inguinal hernia repair, the focus to improve surgical technique has changed from recurrence to chronic postoperative inguinal pain. At present, the most common surgical techniques are the Lichtenstein hernioplasty and total extraperitoneal procedure. Both techniques have their own specific disadvantages, with regard to potential nerve damage and the necessity of general anesthesia, respectively.
The goal of this study was to evaluate the results of a new technique in which the inguinal nerves are not at risk, and in which general anesthesia is not needed: trans rectus sheath extraperitoneal procedure (TREPP).
Between 2006 and 2010, a total of 1,000 patients were treated for inguinal hernia with TREPP. A questionnaire concerning pain, sensibility changes, patient satisfaction, and recurrence was sent to all patients.
The questionnaire was completed by 932 patients. Almost 90 % of patients had not experienced any pain since the surgical procedure; 8 % of patients reported experiencing some pain, but less than preoperatively; and 2 % of patients reported an increase in pain postoperatively. Recurrence occurred in 1 and 3 % were unsure about this. Reduced sensibility of the scar, scrotum, and upper leg was reported by 12.4, 1.4, and 1.5 %, respectively. Overall, 97.4 % of patients were satisfied with the results of the surgical procedure. The time period in which TREPP was performed was not associated with any of the outcome measures.
TREPP has proven to be a feasible new technique for inguinal hernia repair, with excellent results, justifying a randomized controlled trial in which TREPP should be compared with standard techniques.