Combined open and laparoscopic approach to chronic pain after inguinal hernia repair

Jennifer E Keller, Demitrios Stefanidis, Charles J Dolce, David A Iannitti, Kent W Kercher, B Todd Heniford
American Surgeon 2008, 74 (8): 695-700; discussion 700-1
Chronic groin pain is the most frequent long-term complication after inguinal hernia repair affecting up to 34 per cent of patients. Traditional surgical management includes groin exploration, mesh removal, and neurectomy. We evaluate outcomes of a combined laparoscopic and open approach to chronic pain after inguinal herniorrhaphy. All patients undergoing surgical exploration for chronic pain after inguinal herniorrhaphy were analyzed. In most, the operation consisted of mesh removal (open or laparoscopic), neurectomy, and placement of mesh in the opposite location of the first mesh (laparoscopic if the first was open and vice-versa). Main outcome measures included pain status, numbness, and hernia recurrence. Twenty-one patients (16 male and 5 female) with a mean age of 41 years (22-51 years) underwent surgical treatment for unilateral (n = 18) or bilateral (n = 3) groin pain. Percutaneous nerve block was unsuccessful in all patients. Four had previous surgery for pain. There were no complications. With a minimum of 6 weeks follow-up, 20 of 21 patients reported significant improvement or resolution of symptoms. A combined laparoscopic and open approach for postherniorrhaphy groin pain results in excellent patient satisfaction with minimal morbidity. It may be the preferred technique for the definitive management of chronic neuralgia after hernia repair.

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