Age-Related Risk Factors in Ventral Hernia Repairs: A Review and Call to Action

Julia Hamilton, Bradley Kushner, Sara Holden, Timothy Holden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: As the population ages, the incidence of ventral hernias in older adults is increasing. Ventral hernia repairs (VHR) should not be considered low risk operations, particularly in older adults who are disproportionately affected by multiple age-related factors that can complicate surgery and adversely affect outcomes. Although age-related risk factors have been well established in other surgical fields, there is currently little data describing their impact on VHR. Methods: We performed a systematic review of the literature to identify studies that examine the effects of age-related risk factors on VHR outcomes. This was conducted using Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed (Medline), and Google Scholar databases, all updated through June 2020. We selected relevant studies using the keywords, multimorbidity, comorbidities, polypharmacy, functional dependence, functional status, frailty, cognitive impairment, dementia, sarcopenia, and malnutrition. Primary outcomes include mortality and overall complications following VHR. Results: We summarize the evidence basis for the significance of age-related risk factors in elective surgery and discuss how these factors increase the risk of adverse outcomes following VHR. In particular, we explore the impact of the following risk factors: multimorbidity, polypharmacy, functional dependence, frailty, cognitive impairment, sarcopenia, and malnutrition. As opposed to chronological age itself, age-related risk factors are more clinically relevant in determining VHR outcomes. Conclusions: Given the increasing complexity of VHR, addressing age-related risk factors pre-operatively has the potential to improve surgical outcomes in older adults. Preoperative risk assessment and individualized prehabilitation programs aimed at improving patient-centered outcomes may be particularly useful in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-191
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Age
  • Frailty
  • Functional status
  • Geriatric syndromes
  • Polypharmacy
  • Ventral hernia


Dive into the research topics of 'Age-Related Risk Factors in Ventral Hernia Repairs: A Review and Call to Action'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this