The State of Surgical Task Sharing for Inguinal Hernia Repair in Limited-Resource Countries


The State of Surgical Task Sharing for Inguinal Hernia Repair in Limited-Resource Countries


Alexander D. Schroeder, Dustin J. Tubre, Charles Voigt & Charles J. Filipi 



In limited-resource countries, the morbidity and mortality related to inguinal hernias is unacceptably high. This review addresses the issue by identifying capacity-building education of non-surgeons performing inguinal hernia repairs in developing countries and analyzing the outcomes.


PubMed was searched and included are studies that reported on task sharing and surgical outcomes for inguinal hernia surgery. Educational methods with quantitative and qualitative effects of the capacity-building methods have been recorded. Excluded were papers without records of outcome data.


Seven studies from African countries reported 14,108 elective inguinal hernia repairs performed by 230 non-surgeons with a mortality rate of 0.36%. Complications were reported in 4 of the 7 studies with a morbidity rate of 14.2%. Two studies reported on follow-up: one with no recurrences in 408 patients at 7.4 months and the other one with 0.9% recurrences in 119 patients at 12 months. Direct comparison of outcomes from trained non-surgeons to surgeons or surgically trained medical doctors is limited but suggests no difference in outcomes. Quantitative capacity-building effects include increase in surgical workforce, case volume, elective procedures, mesh utilization, and decreased referrals to higher level of care institutions. Qualitative capacity-building effects include feasibility of prospective research in limited-resource settings, improved access to surgical care, and change in practice pattern of local physicians after training for mesh repair.


Systematic training of non-surgeons in inguinal hernia repair is potentially a high-impact capacity-building strategy. High-risk patients should be referred to a fully trained surgeon whenever possible. Randomized study designs and long-term outcomes beyond 1 year are needed.

Only units of this product remain
Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s00268-020-05390-9