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Pain and functional impairment 6 years after inguinal herniorrhaphy

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Pain impairing daily activities following inguinal herniorrhaphy is reported by about 10% of patients, when asked 1–2 years postoperatively. However, the time course and consequences of postherniorrhaphy pain is not known in detail. A nationwide follow-up questionnaire study was undertaken 6.5 years postoperatively in 335 well-described patients reporting pain 1 year after inguinal herniorrhaphy in a previous questionnaire study. Three hundred and three patients, who were alive and could be contacted, received a questionnaire 6.5 years after the herniorrhaphy. Response rate was 88%. Of 267 patients responding, 57 were analyzed separately due to subsequent inguinal herniorrhaphy or other major surgery in the observation period, leaving 210 patients (69.3%) for primary analysis. Pain from the previous hernia site was reported by 72 patients (34.3%), and 52 patients (24.8%) reported that pain affected daily activities. Less pain, compared to the 1-year follow-up, was reported by 75.8%, while 16.7% had the same intensity level and 7.5% reported increased pain severity. In the subgroup of patients operated for a recurrence during the observation period and not included in primary analysis, 22 of 44 (50%) still experienced pain at 6.5 years, and 17 (38.6%) reported that pain affected daily activities (mean observation period 4.5 years). Pain after inguinal herniorrhaphy decreased from about 11% 1 year after surgery, but still affects daily activities in about 6% after 6.5 years. Patients operated for a recurrence are at higher risk for persistent pain.

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This study was supported by a grant from The Lundbeck Foundation.

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Correspondence to E. K. Aasvang.

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Aasvang, E.K., Bay-Nielsen, M. & Kehlet, H. Pain and functional impairment 6 years after inguinal herniorrhaphy. Hernia 10, 316–321 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10029-006-0098-y

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  • Pain
  • Postoperative pain
  • Chronic hernia
  • Inguinal function
  • Impairment