Purpose: It has been estimated in the UK that 27 % of men and 3 % of women will undergo an inguinal hernia repair (IHR) during their lifetimes. However, no epidemiologic study investigating IHR has been performed to date in an Asian population. The present study explored the incidence and recurrence of IHR in an Asian population using a nation-wide population-based dataset in Taiwan. Methods: Based on the National Health Insurance Database, we identified 5806 patients who underwent an IHR between 2000 and 2010 and followed them until they had a recurrence, died during hospitalization, left the program, or the study ended. We calculated the age-stratified recurrence rates and used Cox proportional hazards to explore the influence of demographic and clinical factors on recurrence. We also plotted IHR occurrence over the study period. Results: Among the 5806 sampled subjects who had an IHR, 565 (9.73 %) had an IHR recurrence yielding an overall incidence of 18.23 per 1000 person-years. The hazard ratios for recurrence increased with age, and were greater among men and blue collar workers. The incidence of IHR decreased from 168.21 to 92.10 per 100,000 person-years over the study period. Surgical complication rates ranged between 0.16 and 2.57 %. Conclusions: On account of the increased risk of recurrence with age, young hernia patients may not want to delay surgery. This study detected a decreasing trend in initial IHR rates, confirming similar trends reported in Western countries. However, the incidence of initial IHR is lower in Taiwan than it is in the West.
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