An Analysis of Early Postoperative Returns after Inguinal Hernia Surgery
Although inguinal herniorrhaphy is low risk, patients still return to the urgent care or ED. We performed a retrospective study on 19,296 inguinal hernia operations across 14 Southern California Kaiser Permanente medical centers over five years. Unplanned returns within the first postoperative week were evaluated focusing on four potentially avoidable diagnoses (AD): pain, constipation, urinary retention, and nausea/vomiting. Overall, 1370 (7%) patients returned to the urgent care/emergency department, of which 537 (39%) had an AD. There was no difference in total returns (7.1 vs 7.4%, P = 0.33) or AD returns [2.8 vs 2.6%, (P = 0.44)] for males vs females. Of the 537 total AD returns, there were 205 (38%) patients with pain, 191 (36%) with urinary retention, 112 (21%) with constipation, and 29 (5%) with nausea/vomiting. Most AD returns (78%) occurred within the first three postoperative days. Pain was greater in open operations [44 vs 26%, (P < 0.05)], and urinary retention was greater in the laparoscopic group [27 vs 55%, (P < 0.05)]. The overall rate of return was higher for laparoscopic compared with open unilateral operations [8 vs 6%, (P < 0.05)], but similar between approaches for bilateral operations [11 vs 10%, (P = 0.32)].
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 2018
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