Pain resolution in non-operatively managed ultrasound-only groin hernias: 3-year follow-up
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General surgeons frequently see patients with groin lumps and pain. However, in the absence of a lump, an ultrasound scan identified groin hernia is a diagnostic and management challenge. Some surgeons recommend inguinal hernia surgery while others do not. The outcome of non-operative management is uncertain.
This study represents a minimum 3-year follow-up of all non-operatively managed patients seen in general surgical outpatient clinic over a 12-month period. To be included, patients needed to meet all four criteria: groin pain, no clinical hernia, groin hernia identified on ultrasound scan requested by the general practitioner and non-operative management. Patients were interviewed via a standardised telephone survey. Primary outcome measure was groin pain which was assessed with the Sheffield Pain score.
From July 2014 to June 2015, 67 patients met the inclusion criteria. 42 participated (37 men and 5 women). Two-thirds were pain free (68%). Only 2 patients underwent hernia surgery. Women were more likely to describe developing a lump (60% vs 14%; p = 0.013), to see a surgeon (40% vs 8%; p = 0.039) and undergo hernia surgery (20% vs 3% p = 0.088).
At least in the medium term, non-operative management of men who present with groin pain (with an ultrasound scan reporting a hernia but no lump) is reasonable.
KeywordsInguinal hernia Groin pain Ultrasound
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares no conflicts of interest in the writing of this article.
Ethical approval was gained from the Metro South Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/17/QPAH/875).
Human and animal rights
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all patients who participated in the study.
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