Randomized clinical trial comparing suture and mesh repair of umbilical hernia in adults




Prosthetic repair has become the standard method for inguinal hernia and has excellent results. The question remains of whether the mesh technique could also improve results for umbilical defects.


The study was a randomized clinical trial comparing herniorrhaphy (primary suture) with hernioplasty (polypropylene mesh or plug) in 200 adult patients with a primary umbilical hernia. Patients at high anaesthetic risk (American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) grade IV) or those who needed emergency surgery were excluded. The mean postoperative follow-up was 64 months. The population studied included 118 women and 82 men with a mean age at presentation of 57 years. Some 173 patients were ASA grade I–II and 27 were ASA III. The anaesthetic technique of choice was local anaesthetic infiltration plus sedation (98 per cent).


There were no significant anaesthetic complications or surgical deaths. The mean duration of surgery was greater for mesh than for suture repair (45 versus 38 min). Rates of early complications such as seroma, haematoma or wound infection were similar in the two groups. The hernia recurrence rate was higher after suture repair (11 per cent) than after mesh repair (1 per cent) (P = 0·0015).


Prosthetic repair could become the standard treatment for primary umbilical hernia in adults. © 2001 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd