The Lichtenstein open ?tension-free? mesh repair of inguinal Hernias
All standard methods of hernia repair involve suturing together tissues which are not normally in apposition. This violates the basic surgical principle that tissue must never be approximated under tension and thus accounts for an unacceptable number of failures. A total reinforcement of the inguinal floor with a sheet of suitable biomaterial and the employment of a "tension-free" technique is a more effective approach. Since June 1984, 4,000 primary inguinal hernias have been repaired on an outpatient basis and under local anesthesia at the Lichtenstein Hernia Institute by the open "tension-free" technique using Marlex mesh. The patients were followed from 1 to 11 years by physician examination. The follow-up rate was 87%. There were four recurrences. The causes of recurrence and how to avoid them are herein discussed. Three of the recurrences occurred at the pubic tubercle and were caused by placing the mesh in juxtaposition to the tubercle. This error has since been corrected by overlapping the mesh at the pubic bone. One recurrence was caused by a disruption of the lower edge of the mesh from the shelving margin of Poupart's ligament. The error here was the utilization of a patch that was too narrow and therefore under tension. It became apparent that a wider patch, fixed in place with an appropriate degree of laxity, was required.
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