BACKGROUND: Recurrent and complex bilateral inguinal hernias are associated with a high recurrence rate. This study evaluates prospectively the efficacy and safety of giant prosthetic reinforcement of the visceral sac (GPRVS) in a group of patients at high risk for recurrence. METHODS: Sixty- four patients with 124 inguinal hernias (60 bilateral and 4 unilateral) underwent repair using a large polyester mesh based on Stoppa's preperitoneal technique. Mean age was 61 years (63 men and 1 woman), and 69% had one or more comorbid medical conditions. RESULTS: Factors predicating a high risk for recurrence included large hernia size (≥5 cm; 31%, 20 of 64), failure of one or more previous repairs (39%, 25 of 64), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (28%, 18 of 64). Mean operative time was 115 minutes (range 45 to 235). Mean length of stay was 3 ± 3 days. There were 2 major and 15 minor complications, no mesh infections, and no death. Follow-up was obtained in 95% (61 of 64). After a mean follow-up of 24 months, the recurrence rate was 1% (1 of 124) per inguinal hernia repaired or 2% (1 of 64) per patient. CONCLUSION: GPRVS is a safe and effective addition to the surgeon's armamentarium to treat selected patients with recurrent or complex bilateral inguinal hernias.
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