Management and outcomes of obturator hernias: a systematic review and meta-analysis

M. M. Burla, C. P. Gomes, I. Calvi, E. S.C. Oliveira, D. A.B. Hora, R. D. Mao, S. M.P. de Figueiredo, R. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: Obturator Hernia (OH) is a rare type of abdominal wall hernia. It usually occurs in elderly women with late symptomatic presentation, increasing mortality rates. Surgery is the standard of care for OH, and laparotomy with simple suture closure of the defect is commonly used. Given the rarity of this disease, large studies are lacking, and data to drive management are still limited. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to describe current surgical options for OHs, with a focus on comparing the effectiveness and safety of mesh use with primary repair. Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane were searched for studies comparing mesh and non-mesh repair for OH. Postoperative outcomes were assessed by pooled analysis and meta-analysis. Statistical analysis was performed using RevMan 5.4. Results: One thousand seven hundred and sixty studies were screened and sixty-seven were thoroughly reviewed. We included 13 observational studies with 351 patients surgically treated for OH with mesh or non-mesh repair. One hundred and twenty (34.2%) patients underwent mesh repair and two hundred and thirty-one (65.81%) underwent non-mesh repair. A total of 145 (41.3%) underwent bowel resection, with the majority having a non-mesh repair performed. Hernia recurrence was significantly higher in patients who underwent hernia repair without mesh (RR 0.31; 95% CI 0.11–0.94; p = 0.04). There were no differences in mortality (RR 0.64; 95% CI 0.25–1.62; p = 0.34; I 2 = 0%) or complication rates (RR 0.59; 95% CI 0.28–1.25; p = 0.17; I 2 = 50%) between both groups. Conclusion: Mesh repair in OH was associated with lower recurrence rates without an increase in postoperative complications. While mesh in clean cases is more likely to offer benefits, an overall recommendation regarding its use in OH repair cannot be made due to potential bias across studies. Given that many OH patients are frail and present emergently, the decision to use mesh is complex and should consider the patient’s clinical status, comorbidities, and degree of intraoperative contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-806
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Hernia repair
  • Mesh
  • Obturator hernia
  • Primary repair
  • Suture repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Management and outcomes of obturator hernias: a systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this