Purpose: To assess the mental effort and physical discomfort of placement of a prosthetic mesh into the abdominal cavity with single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) or multi-port laparoscopic access for incisional ventral hernia repair. Methods: A total of 10 surgeons with previous experience in conventional laparoscopic surgery performed four surgical tasks through a multi-port laparoscopic access and a SILS access in a porcine model during a first 4-hour working session and a second 2-hour working session. These tasks included (a) introduction of a prosthetic mesh for abdominal wall surgery, (b) manipulation of the mesh inside the abdomen, (c) manipulation of the laparoscopic instruments and (d) mesh insertion to the intraperitoneal abdominal wall and fixation with tackers. The level of mental effort was assessed with the Subjective Mental Effort Questionnaire (SMEQ) and physical discomfort with the Local Experienced Discomfort Scale (LED). Results: Seventy percent were men, with a mean age of 45 years and a mean of 18 years of experience in practicing surgery. The SMEQ questionnaire showed a median physical effort of 24.4 (range 9-36.1) points for the multi-port laparoscopic access and 107.4 (range 74.7-128.4) for SILS (p < 0.01). Statistically significant differences between multi-port laparoscopic surgery and SILS were consistently demonstrated in all tasks as well as in both the 4-hour and 2-hour working sessions. The median (interquartile range) score of the LED scale was 12.5 (2-34.5) for tasks during multi-port laparoscopic surgery and 53.5 (29-89.2) for SILS (p < 0.001). All individual tasks were associated with a significantly higher physical effort for SILS than for conventional laparoscopic access, which were also independent of being performed during the 4-hour or 2-hour working periods. Conclusions: Placement and manipulation of a prosthetic mesh for incisional ventral hernia repair is more difficult with SILS than using multi-port laparoscopic access, independently of previous experience with standard laparoscopic techniques. This greater difficulty was observed both in terms of mental effort and physical discomfort. More experimental and clinical studies are needed to define specific training aspects and clinical advantages of incisional ventral hernia repair through SILS. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.
- Laparoscopy, single-port, multi-port