Outcomes of emergent incisional hernia repair

Laura K. Altom, Christopher W. Snyder, Stephen H. Gray, Laura A. Graham, Catherine C. Vick, Mary T. Hawn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the effect of emergent repair on incisional hernia repair outcomes at 16 Veteran's Affairs Medical Centers between 1998 and 2002. Of the 1452 cases reviewed, 63 (4.3%) were repaired emergently. Patients undergoing emergent repair were older (P = 0.02), more likely to be black (P = 0.02), and have congestive heart failure (P = 0.001) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (P = 0.001). Of emergent repairs, 76.2 per cent involved intestinal incarceration versus 7.2 per cent of elective repairs (P < 0.0001), and 17.5 per cent had concomitant bowel resection compared with 3.9 per cent of elective cases (P < 0.0001). Patients undergoing emergent repair were also more likely to receive primary suture repair (49.2 vs 31.1%, P = 0.003), develop a postoperative complication (26.0 vs 11.3%, P = 0.002), and have increased postoperative length of stay (7 vs 4 days, P < 0.0001). There were nine (14.3%) deaths at 30 days for the emergent group compared with 10 (0.7%) in the elective group (P < 0.001). However, there was no significant difference between emergent and elective repairs in long-term complications. Emergent hernia repair is associated with increased mortality rates, early complications, and longer length of stay; however, long-term outcomes are equivalent to elective cases. These data suggest that technical outcomes for emergent repairs approach those of elective operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-976
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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