Background: Transversus abdominis release (TAR) is an effective procedure for the repair of complex ventral hernias. However, TAR is not a low risk operation, particularly in older adults who are disproportionately affected by multiple age-related risk factors. While past studies have suggested that age alone inconsistently predicts patient outcomes, data regarding age’s effect on postoperative outcomes and wound complications following a TAR are lacking. Methods: Patients who underwent either an open or robotic bilateral TAR from 1/2018 to 9/2020 were eligible for the study. Patients were stratified by age groups (≥ 60 years vs. < 60 years and < 60, 60–70, and ≥ 70) and by both age and operative approach. The rates of key postoperative outcomes and wound morbidity were compared between the various cohorts. Results: A total of 300 patients were included: 165 patients were ≥ 60 and 135 patients were < 60. Cohorts stratified by age were well-matched for important hernia factors: defect size (p = 0.31), BMI ≥ 30 (p = 0.46), OR time (p = 0.25), percent open TAR (p = 0.42), diabetes (p = 0.45) and history of prior surgical site infection (p = 0.40). The older cohort had significantly higher rates of coronary artery disease, hypertension, and COPD. On univariate analysis, cohorts stratified by age had similar rates of key postoperative and wound complications including in-hospital complications (p = 0.62), length of stay (p = 0.47), readmissions (p = 0.66), and surgical site occurrences (p = 0.68). Additionally, cohorts stratified by both age and operative approach also had similar outcomes. Multivariate analysis showed that chronological age was not independently associated with surgical site occurrences (p = 0.22), readmissions (p = 0.99), in-hospital complications (p = 0.15), or severe complications (p = 0.79). Conclusion: Open and robotic TARs can be safely performed in older adults and chronological age alone is a poor predictor of patient morbidity following TAR. Further investigation of alternative preoperative screening tools that do not rely solely on age are needed to better optimize surgical outcomes in older adults following TAR.
- Complex abdominal wall reconstruction
- Hernia outcomes
- Transversus abdominis release
- Ventral hernias