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Survey of patients regarding experience following repair of inguinal hernias

Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to determine patients’ experiences following inguinal hernia repair at a tertiary hospital and associated cottage hospital in terms of postherniorraphy pain and follow-up.

Methods

After exclusions, 373 adult patients undergoing inguinal hernia repair at Derriford and Tavistock hospitals during a 1-year period from October 2017 were sent a questionnaire regarding preoperative pain experience, current symptoms, and pain severity at 28 days and other intervals postoperatively. Statistical analysis of responses included unpaired t test to compare means and χ2 test for discrete variables with a p value < 0.05 regarded as statistically significant.

Results

The survey response rate was 68% (253/373). The mean pain score on visual analogue scale was 1.5 at 28 days postoperatively in those without preoperative pain compared to 3.2 in those with preoperative pain (p = 0.0001). Although 64 (25%) patients complained of pain at a mean follow-up of 47.9 ± 15.6 weeks, pain severity was insignificant after 28 days. Gender, employment status and mesh type did not affect pain scores. Return to normal activity after laparoscopic repair was longer than after open repair (5.4 ± 3.4 versus 4.2 ± 2.2 weeks, respectively; p = 0.0322). Overall, 34.6% thought follow-up was necessary and patients were more likely to agree with a decision not to follow them up.

Conclusion

This study puts postherniorrhaphy pain in perspective of preoperative pain. Active discussion with patients prior to discharge or telephone follow-up by an appropriate individual may reduce the need for hospital follow-up.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge Shahzar Malik’s contribution of ideas to the study and his help in seeking ethical approval. We are indebted to Lisa Burnham for her administrative help in seeking information about study participants, mailing questionnaires and safe-guarding responses from study participants.

Author information

FA-B: designed questionnaire; collated responses; wrote paper; and approved final manuscript. JAA: designed study and questionnaire; analysed data; wrote paper; critically appraised and approved final manuscript.

Correspondence to J. A. Akoh.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was sought but not deemed necessary by the hospital research committee.

Human and animal rights

There are no human and animal rights issues to declare.

Informed consent

Patients were sent a cover letter with the questionnaire and informed about the nature and purpose of the study. The purpose of the survey was explained in the covering letter. Only those willing to, completed and returned the questionnaires.

Additional information

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Adamu-Biu, F., Akoh, J.A. Survey of patients regarding experience following repair of inguinal hernias. Hernia 24, 187–195 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10029-019-02061-0

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Keywords

  • Inguinal hernia repair
  • Follow-up
  • Preoperative pain
  • Postherniorrhapy pain