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Should laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair be abandoned in favor of the open approach?

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The most appropriate approach to the repair of large paraesophageal hernias remains controversial. Despite early results of excellent outcomes after laparoscopic repair, recent reports of high recurrence require that this approach be reevaluated.


For this study, 60 primary paraesophageal hernias consecutively repaired at one institution from 1990 to 2002 were reviewed. These 25 open transabdominal and 35 laparoscopic repairs were compared for operative, short-, and long-term outcomes on the basis of quality-of -life questionnaires and radiographs.


No difference in patient characteristics was detected. Laparoscopic repair resulted in lower blood loss, fewer intraoperative complications, and a shorter length of hospital stay. No difference in general or disease-specific quality-of-life was documented. Radiographic follow-up was available for 78% open and 91% laparoscopic repairs, showing anatomic recurrence rates of 44% and 23%, respectively (p = 0.11).


Laparoscopic repair should remain in the forefront for the management of paraesophageal hernias. However, there is considerable room for improvement in reducing the incidence of recurrence.

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Correspondence to G. M. Fried.

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Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Tyco Healthcare Canada

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Ferri, L.E., Feldman, L.S., Stanbridge, D. et al. Should laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair be abandoned in favor of the open approach?. Surg Endosc 19, 4–8 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-004-8903-0

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  • Paraesophageal hernia
  • Recurrence
  • Laparoscopy
  • Complications
  • Fundoplication
  • Hiatal hernia