Does Using Mesh to Repair an Inguinal Hernia Have More Complications Than the Open Method?

Some studies show that laparoscopic repair of an inguinal hernia using mesh results in an increased risk of complications following surgery. Many of these complications are related to the use of synthetic mesh and include infections, adhesions and chronic pain, according to WebMD.

Inguinal hernias are surgically repaired either laparoscopically or with open surgery, states Mayo Clinic. Laparoscopic surgery involves insertion of synthetic or absorbable mesh to prevent the hernia from recurring, and there is some evidence that absorbable mesh is superior to synthetic mesh in reducing the risk of many of these mesh-related complications. One form of open surgery called hernioplasty uses mesh, while a second type of open surgery, or herniorrhaphy, does not use mesh.

Most patients who have either type of inguinal hernia repair surgery are able to go home the same day, but the recovery time tends to be shorter after laparoscopic surgery at one to two weeks compared with open surgery recovery times averaging three weeks, according to WebMD. In addition, people usually have less pain after laparoscopic hernia repair than after open hernia surgery.

Recovery from laparoscopic repair also may involve more complications simply because this type of surgery requires general anesthesia, reports WebMD. In contrast, open hernia repair is performed under spinal or local anesthesia, which is associated with a lower risk of postsurgical complications.