Background: Prospective studies and meta-analyses have indicated that non-mesh repair is inferior to mesh repair based on recurrence rates in inguinal hernia. The only reliable way to evaluate recurrence rates after hernia surgery is by long-term follow-up. Methods: Between September 1993 and January 1996, a multicentre clinical trial was performed, in which 300 patients with unilateral primary inguinal hernia were randomized to non-mesh or mesh repair. Long-term follow-up was carried out from June 2005 to January 2006. Results: Median follow-up was 128 months for non-mesh and 129 months for mesh repair. The 10-year cumulative hernia recurrence rates were 17 and 1 per cent respectively (P = 0-005). Half of the recurrences developed after 3 years' follow-up. There was no significant correlation between hernia recurrence and age, level of expertise of the surgeon, contralateral hernia, obesity, history of pulmonary disease, constipation or prostate disease. Conclusion: After 10 years mesh repair is still superior to non-mesh hernia repair. Recurrence rates may be underestimated as recurrences continue to develop for up to 10 years after surgery. Copyright

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van Veen, R.N., Wijsmuller, A.R., Vrijland, W.W., Hop, W.C.J., Lange, J.F., & Jeekel, J.. (2007). Long-term follow-up of a randomized clinical trial of non-mesh versus mesh repair of primary inguinal hernia. British Journal of Surgery, 94(4), 506–510. doi:10.1002/bjs.5627