The minimally invasive treatment of inguinal hernias, with the technologies of robotic surgery and videolaparoscopic, bring advantages in the recovery of patients and reduction of the recurrence of the disease – with rates that vary from 5 to 10% – and cause a cost of the new treatment of more than 28 billion dollars, in the United States, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. In Brazil, approximately 5.4 million people suffer from abdominal hernias, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
The Brazilian Hernia Society warns that inguinal hernia surgeries performed by the Unified Health System (SUS) in a minimally invasive way represent only 1% of total operations, according to data presented by DataSus. “In the private network, the scenario is the opposite of SUS and procedures are performed using new technologies, with professionals trained to work with laparoscopy and robotics techniques”, warns the president of the entity, digestive system surgeon, Marcelo Furtado.
Between 2016 and 2021, 687,000 inguinal hernia surgeries were performed in Brazil, via SUS, of which only 5,371 were videolaparoscopic – that is, 0.78%.
Gustavo Soares, vice president SBH, emphasizes that the treatment of this type of hernia has undergone great evolution in the last 25 years. “Among the main goals were to reduce the length of hospital stay, the recurrence of the disease and to offer the patient a better quality of life after the procedure – which includes mobility, faster, more satisfactory recovery and reduction of postoperative pain.”
SBH’s financial director, Heitor Santos, warns that minimally invasive techniques avoid the risk of infections and blood loss in surgery. “Knowing that in the private health system, the use of minimally invasive techniques have been established as preferred and considering their advantages over open techniques, the reality in the public network is worrying”.
According to the IBGE (2019), 28.5% of Brazilians have a medical or dental health plan, totaling 59.7 million people. Even in the federation units where per capita income is higher, the proportion of people with medical health insurance is less than 40% of the population.
Post-pandemic pent-up demand – With the suspension of elective surgeries during the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for patients for treatments for abdominal wall hernias is on the rise in 2022. Above all, cases with more complexities are received in offices and clinics, since the time of evolution of the disease increased with the suspension of surgeries.
High demand requires more time for scheduling. “The period required is not only due to the surgeon’s schedule, but also to the term of health insurance, provided by the National Health Agency, for the release of procedures”, explains Marcelo Furtado.