ventral incisional hernias; incisional hernias; hernia; ventral; surgical mesh; non-midline incisions; randomized controlled trials; systematic review; prevention





Many abdominal-pelvic surgeries utilize incisions not along the linea alba, such as transverse, laparoscopic, ostomy reversal, or ostomy formation incisions. The prevalence of ventral incisional hernias (VIH) at these sites and the efficacy of prophylactic mesh in preventing VIH remains unclear.


PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Cochrane databases were systematically reviewed from inception to September 2022. We included published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared prophylactic mesh reinforcement versus no mesh. The primary outcome was the incidence of VIH at postoperative follow-up equal to or greater than 24 months. Secondary outcomes included surgical site infection (SSI) and surgical site occurrence (SSO).


Of 3186 screened articles, only 3 RCTs with at least an 80% 2-year follow-up, encompassing a total of 901 patients, were included for analysis of non-midline VIH. Fifteen additional RCTs were included for analysis of secondary outcomes. The rate of parastomal hernias with prophylactic mesh was 21%, while it ranged from 44%-64% in the control group. The rate of incisional hernia after ostomy reversal with prophylactic mesh was 10%, and 16% in the control group. No clear evidence of a difference was found in rates of SSI or SSO between groups.


There is limited evidence on the role of prophylactic mesh in preventing non-midline VIH. More studies at low risk for bias are needed to elucidate the balance of the long-term risks and benefits of prophylactic mesh for non-midline incisions.

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