Is laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair more effective than open repair?
To systematically review randomized controlled trials, (RCT) evidence comparing Lichtenstein to total extraperitoneal (TEP) hernia repair in terms of clinical and cost effectiveness. Case series. The study was conducted at University of Abderdeen, U.K. A comprehensive online literature search was undertaken using databases such as MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE and Springerlink. Studies were then shortlisted according to the selection criteria (RCT with over 100 subject and English language publications from 1995 onwards) and appraised using the SIGN Methodology Checklist. A metaanalysis of the data was also performed using RevMan software. Analysis of reported data shows that TEP has less postoperative pain and return to work than Lichtenstein method. Operation time is shown to be longer in the TEP but this difference is shortened with increasing surgeon experience. The meta-analysis of the data on complications shows that there are no significant differences between the two types of procedures. TEP causes more short-term recurrences which are attributed to the learning curve effect. Longterm recurrence rates on the other hand show no significant differences. At present TEP is slightly more expensive than Lichtenstein repair. Both TEP and Lichtenstein repair are clinically effective procedures. The choice between them should be made on a case-by-case basis; which depends on the patients' preference and characteristics such as age, work and health status.DOI: 05.2011/JCPSP.291296