This meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis aims to provide an update on the available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and recommendations on using lightweight mesh (LWM) or heavyweight mesh (HWM) in laparo-endoscopic inguinal hernia repair.
LWM might reduce chronic pain through improved mesh flexibility and less fibrosis formation. However, in laparo-endoscopic repair chronic pain is already rare and LWM raise concerns of higher recurrence rates.
A literature search was conducted in May 2019 in MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane library for RCTs that compared lightweight (≤50 g/m2) and heavyweight (>70 g/m2) mesh in patients undergoing laparo-endoscopic surgery for uncomplicated inguinal hernias. Outcomes were recurrences, chronic pain, and foreign-body sensation. The level of evidence was assessed using GRADE. Risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated by random effect meta-analyses. Trial-sequential-analyses were subsequently performed.
Twelve RCTs, encompassing 2909 patients (LWM 1490 vs HWM 1419), were included. The follow-up range was 3 to 60 months. Using LWM increased the recurrence risk (LWM 32/1571, HWM 13/1508; RR 2.21; CI 1.14–4.31), especially in nonfixated mesh direct repairs (LWM 13/180, HWM 1/171; RR 7.27; CI 1.33–39.73) and/or large hernia defects. No difference was determined regarding any pain (LWM 123/1362, HWM 127/1277; RR 0.79; CI 0.52–1.20), severe pain (LWM 3/1226, HWM 9/1079; RR 0.38; CI 0.11–1.35), and foreign-body sensation (LWM 100/1074, HWM 103/913; RR 0.94; CI 0.73–1.20).
HWM should be used in laparo-endoscopic repairs of direct or large inguinal hernias to reduce recurrence rates. LWM provide no benefit in indirect hernias.