Background: Currently, the lack of consensus on postoperative mesh-tissue adhesion scoring leads to incomparable scientific results. The aim of this study was to develop an adhesion score recognized by experts in the field of hernia surgery.
Methods: Authors of three or more previously published articles on both mesh-tissue adhesion scores and postoperative adhesions were marked as experts. They were queried on seven items using a modified Delphi method. The items concerned the utility of adhesion scoring models, the appropriateness of macroscopic and microscopic variables, the range and use of composite scores or subscores, adhesion-related complications and follow-up length. This study comprised two questionnaire-based rounds and one consensus meeting.
Results: The first round was completed by 23 experts (82%), the second round by 18 experts (64%). Of those 18 experts, ten were able to participate in the final consensus meeting and all approved the final proposal. From a total of 158 items, consensus was reached on 90 items. The amount of mesh surface covered with adhesions, tenacity and thickness of adhesions and organ involvement was concluded to be a minimal set of variables to be communicated separately in each future study on mesh adhesions.
Conclusion: The MEsh Tissue Adhesion scoring system is the first consensus-based scoring system with a wide backing of renowned experts and can be used to assess mesh-related adhesions. By including this minimal set of variables in future research interstudy comparability and objectivity can be increased and eventually linked to clinically relevant outcomes.