Umbilical hernia repair and recurrence: need for a clinical trial?

Jennifer Mannion, Mohamed Khalid Hamed, Ritu Negi, Alison Johnston, Magda Bucholc, Michael Sugrue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Umbilical hernia repair, despite its perceived simplicity, is associated with recurrence between 2.7 and 27%, in mesh repair and non mesh repair respectively. Many factors are recognized contributors to recurrence however multiple defects in the linea alba, known to occur in up to 30% of patients, appear to have been overlooked by surgeons. Aims: This systematic review assessed reporting of second or multiple linea alba defects in patients undergoing umbilical hernia repair to establish if these anatomical variations could contribute to recurrence along with other potential factors. Methods: A systematic review of all published English language articles was undertaken using databases PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane Library from January 2014 to 2019. The search terms ‘Umbilical hernia’ AND ‘repair’ AND ‘recurrence’ were used across all databases. Analysis was specified in advance to avoid selection bias, was registered with PROSPERO (154173) and adhered to PRISMA statement. Results: Six hundred and forty-six initial papers were refined to 10 following article review and grading. The presence of multiple linea alba defects as a contributor to recurrence was not reported in the literature. One paper mentioned the exclusion of six participants from their study due multiple defects. In all 11 factors were significantly associated with umbilical hernia recurrence. These included: large defect, primary closure without mesh, high BMI in 5/10 publications; smoking, diabetes mellitus, surgical site Infection (SSI) and concurrent hernia in 3/10. In addition, the type of mesh, advanced age, liver disease and non-closure of the defect were identified in individual papers. Conclusion: This study identified many factors already known to contribute to umbilical hernia recurrence in adults, but the existence of multiple defects in the linea, despite it prevalence, has evaded investigators. Surgeons need to be consider documentation of this potential confounder which may contribute to recurrence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number365
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Surgery
Issue number1
Early online date12 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 12 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and Donegal Clinical and Research Academy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Research
  • Umbilical hernia repair
  • Open
  • Laparoscopic
  • Hernia recurrence
  • Mesh


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