Background: Yearly approximately 4500 umbilical hernias are repaired in The Netherlands, mostly under general anesthesia. The use of local anesthesia has shown several advantages in groin hernia surgery. Local anesthesia might be useful in the treatment of umbilical hernia as well. However, convincing evidence is lacking. We have conducted a systematic review on safety, feasibility, and advantages of local anesthesia for umbilical hernia repair.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. Outcome parameters were duration of surgery, surgical site infection, perioperative and postoperative complications, postoperative pain, hernia recurrence, time before discharge, and patient satisfaction.
Results: The systematic review resulted in nine included articles. Various anesthetic agents were used, varying from short acting to longer acting agents. There was no consensus regarding the injection technique and no conversions to general anesthesia were described. The most common postoperative complication was surgical site infection, with an overall percentage of 3.4%. There were no postoperative deaths and no allergic reactions described for local anesthesia. The hernia recurrence rate varied from 2 to 7.4%. Almost 90% of umbilical hernia patients treated with local anesthesia were discharged within 24 h, compared with 47% of patients treated with general anesthesia. The overall patient satisfaction rate varied from 89 to 97%.
Conclusion: Local anesthesia for umbilical hernia seems safe and feasible. However, the advantages of local anesthesia are not sufficiently demonstrated, due to the heterogeneity of included studies. We, therefore, propose a randomized controlled trial comparing general versus local anesthesia for umbilical hernia repair.

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Hernia: the journal of hernias and abdominal wall surgery
Department of Surgery

Jairam, A., Posthuma-Kaufmann, R., Muysoms, F., Jeekel, H., & Lange, J. (2017). The feasibility of local anesthesia for the surgical treatment of umbilical hernia: a systematic review of the literature. Hernia: the journal of hernias and abdominal wall surgery (Vol. 21, pp. 223–231). doi:10.1007/s10029-017-1577-z