Background: Glue mesh fixation is thought to cause less pain compared to tack mesh fixation during laparoscopic total extraperitoneal inguinal hernia repair (TEP). However, the clinical benefits of glue mesh fixation are still controversial. This study aimed to evaluate the acute pain, chronic pain, and recurrence rate between these two fixation methods. Methods: After reviewing all patients in our prospective hernia repair database from February 2008 to December 2017, we identified 583 patients who underwent TEP with tack mesh fixation and 70 patients with glue fixation by a single surgeon. Acute post-operative pain and activity level were evaluated using a Visual Analog Score (VAS) and the modified Medical Outcome Study (MOS) score. The primary endpoint was chronic pain 6 months after TEP. The secondary endpoints were acute pain, activity level, complications, and recurrence. Results: After adjustment for potential confounding factors, the glue mesh fixation had significant lower VAS at 2 h post operation during rest and coughing and on the first day after surgery during coughing (p = 0.005, p < 0.001, and p = 0.011). The modified MOS on the first day was higher in the glue group (p < 0.001). There were no reduced risk of chronic pain or increased risk of recurrence for the glue group compared to the tack group [Odds ratio (OR) = 0.237, p = 0.169; OR = 2.498, p = 0.299]. In the sub-group analysis for recurrent hernia repair, glue fixation is associated with better modified MOS (p = 0.031) on first day and lower VAS on the operative day and first day at rest (p = 0.003 and p = 0.024) after surgery. Conclusions: Glue fixation method was superior to tack fixation method in acute post-operative pain and early post-operative activity level after laparoscopic TEP repair. However, both fixation methods had similar incidence of chronic pain-, recurrence-, and procedure-related complications after laparoscopic TEP repair.
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