New Study Finds That Epigastric Hernia Repair Offers Value For Money

A study undertaken by the Imperial College and the Kings Fund have found that hernia repair operations, including those used to help treat an epigastric hernia

Online PR News – 06-August-2013 – Glasgow – A study undertaken by the Imperial College and the Kings Fund have found that hernia repair operations, including those used to help treat an epigastric hernia, improve standard of living and offer value for money. The research was taken in response to the government’s call to make £20bn of savings by minimising the number of these surgical treatments that are provided to patients. The study found that hernia repair operations have a cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) of £1,881 which falls some way below the £20,000 limit normally used by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

In 2011 the Audit Commission released a report that highlighted certain treatments as offering low clinical value. This effectively means that they believed that hernia repair did not offer enough clinical benefit to patients to make them an erstwhile venture. Included in this list were treatments like hernia repair, joint replacements, and varicose vein treatments. However, by using Patient Reported Outcome Measures, or PROMs, Kings College London has effectively disproven this claim.

A Patient Reported Outcome Measure is an assessment compiled by doctors and healthcare providers on the quality of life of patients both before and after the operation. These PROMs became a requirement in any of the cases on the Low Clinical Value list and they are designed to measure the effectiveness, value, and efficacy of these forms of treatment. The PROMs show that quality of life can be greatly improved following hernia repair surgery.

There are a number of different types of hernia including an epigastric hernia. This occurs when fatty tissue protrudes from the abdomen. The most common symptom of this type of hernia is a physical lump which appears just below the sternum. The hernia will usually only be uncomfortable initially but over time it can become increasingly painful especially when lifting items. An epigastric hernia is not the most common type of hernia, which is an honour that is held by the inguinal hernia. Both can be repaired with hernia surgery.

The findings of the report calculate that the cost per quality-adjusted life year of patients that have undergone hernia repair is around £1,881. This is significantly lower than the £20,000 that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will recommend for treatment. Any treatments that fall below this £20,000 figure will usually be given the go ahead by the group. QALY is considered a standard form of measurement in these circumstances and one that the government has been known to rely on in the past.

The greatest health benefits are typically reported by those patients that underwent laparoscopic or keyhole surgery rather than those that had full surgery. During surgery, an incision is made in the abdominal wall and the hernia sac is dealt with. The contents of the sac are returned to where they belong within the body and the abdominal wall is strengthened before the operation site is closed up. Positive results are often experienced by those patients that require repair for an epigastric hernia.

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