The efficacy of goal-directed recommendations in overcoming barriers to elective ventral hernia repair in older adults

Cameron A. Casson, Julie M. Clanahan, Britta J. Han, Chloe Ferris, Timothy R. Holden, Bradley S. Kushner, Sara E. Holden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Although ventral hernias are common in older adults and can impair quality of life, multiple barriers exist that preclude ventral hernia repair. The goal of this study was to determine if older adults with ventral hernias achieve surgeon-directed goals to progress to an elective ventral hernia repair. Methods: Patients ≥60 years evaluated for a ventral hernia in a specialty clinic from January 2018 to August 2021 were retrospectively reviewed. Nonoperative candidates with modifiable risk factors were included. Data collected included specific barriers to ventral hernia repair and recommendations to address these barriers for future ventral hernia repair eligibility. Patients lost to follow-up were contacted by phone. Results: In total, 559 patients were evaluated, with 182 (32.6%) deemed nonoperative candidates with modifiable risk factors (median age 68 years, body mass index 38.2). Surgeon-directed recommendations included weight loss (53.8%), comorbidity management by a medical specialist (44.0%), and smoking cessation (19.2%). Ultimately, 45/182 patients (24.7%) met preoperative goals and progressed to elective ventral hernia repair. Alternatively, 5 patients (2.7%) required urgent/emergency surgical intervention. Importantly, 106/182 patients (58.2%) did not return to clinic after initial consultation. Of those contacted (n = 62), 35.5% reported failure to achieve optimization goals. Initial body mass index ≥40 and surgeon-recommended weight loss were associated with lack of patient follow-up (P =.01, P =.02) and progression to elective ventral hernia repair (P =.009, P =.005). Conclusion: Nearly one-third of older adults evaluated for ventral hernias were nonoperative candidates, most often due to obesity, and over half of these patients were lost to follow-up. An increase in structured support is needed for patients to achieve surgeon-specified preoperative goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-738
Number of pages7
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


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