A universal definition for what constitutes a hernia center does not exist. The purpose of this study was to characterize hernia centers in the United States by analyzing hernia centers and their non-hernia center counterparts.
A web-based search was conducted to identify defining features of hernia centers including faculty demographics and composition, research output, research funding, clinical trials, and website content. Hernia centers and non-hernia centers were compared.
Most hernia centers (n = 36) are in urban areas (89%) and distributed evenly across regions of the United States. Hernia centers are associated with University program types (p = 0.001) while non-hernia centers are associated with University-Affiliate (p = 0.001) and Community (p = 0.02) program types. Hernia centers are associated with Abdominal Core Health Quality Collaborative participation (p = 0.01) and Center of Excellence by the Surgical Review Corporation certification (p = 0.005). Hernia centers are associated with presence of active clinical trials (p < 0.001) and number of clinical trials (p < 0.001). Hernia centers are associated with industry-sponsored trials (p < 0.001) but are not associated with NIH-sponsored trials. Fifty percent of hernia centers have PRS faculty. The vast majority of hernia center websites describe hernias treated (92%) and repair techniques (89%). The majority of hernia center mission statements emphasize an individualized care plan (61%) and multidisciplinary care (57%). Only 39% of websites and 17% of mission statements mention research.
In the United States, hernia centers are clinically oriented, multidisciplinary surgical teams at predominantly urban, University programs that may use this title to attract patient referrals and industry sponsorship of clinical trials.