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.
- Umbilical hernia repair
- Hernia recurrence