ABSTRACT: The results of a randomized clinical trial comparing the Lichtenstein procedure, mesh plug repair, and the Prolene Hernia System provided a database for analyzing chronic pain after anterior mesh hernia repair to determine the characteristics and identify risk factors.
A total of 334 patients with primary inguinal hernia were randomly allocated to receive one of the three meshes. Data on patient characteristics, hernia, and procedure were collected. Longterm followup was completed for 319 of 333 (95.8 %) patients with a postal questionnaire that included a Visual Analog Scale pain score, pain descriptions, and questions about numbness and prosthesis awareness. Chronic pain was analyzed irrespective of the technique used.
With increasing age, significantly less intense chronic pain was reported (R = -0.267, p < 0.001) and pain descriptors were used less frequently (p < 0.001). This indirectly reflected the significance of employment (p = 0.019) and body mass index (R = -0.166, p = 0.005) in a univariate analysis because the elderly were, for the most part, unemployed and had a higher body mass index. Longterm Visual Analog Scale pain score correlated significantly with pain directly after an operation (R = 0.253, p = < 0.001). Reported pain increased with the presence of numbness (p < 0.001) and the number of descriptions used (R = 0.389, p < 0.001). Patients using only neuropathic descriptions (n = 56) suffered significantly more intense pain (Visual Analog Scale 26.5 versus 16.6, p = 0.014) than those using only words indicating nociceptive pain (n = 47).
Chronic pain after anterior mesh hernia repair is determined by younger age and stronger pain directly after the operation. Especially in patients with chronic neuropathic pain, its intensity is aggravated when numbness is present and the number of words to describe pain increases.
Journal of the American College of Surgeons 07/2005; 200(6):885-9. · 4.55 Impact Factor