Report the 2-year outcomes of a multicenter randomized controlled trial comparing robotic versus laparoscopic intraperitoneal onlay mesh ventral hernia repair.
Ventral hernia repair is one of the most common operations performed by general surgeons. To our knowledge, no studies have been published to date comparing long-term outcomes of laparoscopic versus robotic ventral hernia repair.
The trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03490266). Clinical outcomes included surgical site infection, surgical site occurrence, hernia occurrence, readmission, reoperation, and mortality.
A total of 175 consecutive patients were approached that were deemed eligible for elective minimally invasive ventral hernia repair. In all, 124 were randomized and 101 completed follow-up at 2 years. Two-year follow-up was completed in 54 patients (83%) in the robotic arm and 47 patients (80%) in the laparoscopic arm. No differences were seen in surgical site infection or surgical site occurrence. Hernia recurrence occurred in 2 patients (4%) receiving robotic repair versus in 6 patients (13%) receiving laparoscopic repair (relative risk: 0.3, 95% CI: 0.06–1.39; P=0.12). No patients (0%) required reoperation in the robotic arm whereas 5 patients (11%) underwent reoperation in the laparoscopic arm (P=0.019, relative risk not calculatable due to null outcome).
Robotic ventral hernia repair demonstrated at least similar if not improved outcomes at 2 years compared with laparoscopy. There is potential benefit with robotic repair; however, additional multi-center trials and longer follow-up are needed to validate the hypothesis-generating findings of this study.