Variation in outcomes and use of laparoscopy in elective inguinal hernia repair
journal contributionposted on 21.06.2019, 10:33 by T Palser, D Bowrey, S Swift, I Beckingham, R Williams
Background The early outcomes of inguinal hernia repair in routine practice and the extent to which the laparoscopic approach is used are unknown. The aims of this study were to identify national benchmarks for early reoperation and readmission rates, to identify the degree to which the laparoscopic approach is used for elective hernia surgery in England, and to identify whether there is any variation nationally. Methods All adults who underwent publically funded elective inguinal hernia repair in England during the six financial years from 2011–2012 to 2016–2017 were identified in the Surgeon's Workload Outcomes and Research Database (SWORD). Patients were grouped according to whether they had a primary, recurrent or bilateral hernia, and according to sex. Overall rates of readmission, reoperation and laparoscopic approach were calculated, and variation was assessed using funnel plots. Results Some 390 777 patients were included. Overall, 11 448 patients (2·9 per cent) were readmitted to hospital as an emergency within 30 days of surgery and 2872 (0·7 per cent) had a further operation. Laparoscopic repair was performed for 65·5 per cent of bilateral inguinal hernias compared with 17·1 per cent of primary unilateral inguinal hernias, 31·3 per cent of recurrent hernia repairs and 14·0 per cent of primary unilateral hernias in women. The unadjusted readmission, reoperation and laparoscopy rates varied significantly between hospitals. Conclusion The likelihood of a patient being readmitted to hospital, having an emergency reoperation or undergoing laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair varies significantly depending on the hospital to which they are referred. Hospitals and service commissioners should use this data to drive service improvement and reduce this variation.