A new study has found that patients undergoing hernia repair are much more likely to experience chronic groin pain than had previously been thought.

The finding is based on questionnaires answered by 1166 adults a year after they had undergone inguinal hernia repair. Responses showed that 28.7 per cent had experienced pain in the area of the hernia in the previous month. Also, 11 per cent of the respondents said that their pain was severe enough to interfere with work or leisure activities, although only 5 per cent had sought medical treatment.

A second questionnaire sent to those who had reported pain revealed that pain was more frequent during activity than at rest, and was most common while climbing stairs and in those who had to stand for long periods of time. Groin pain was the most common type of pain described found in nearly 44 per cent of respondents. The pain was not associated with the type of surgery or method of anaesthesia.

Two explanations for the recurrent pain have been suggested: that it is the result of nerve damage during the operation and/or that the use of implanted prosthetic mesh which has become the standard in hernia repair over the past few years may also account for the increase in the number of cases of chronic pain (Ann Surg, 2001; 233: 1-8).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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