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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Chronic pain 5 years after randomized comparison of laparoscopic and Lichtenstein inguinal hernia repair

A Eklund, A Montgomery, L Bergkvist, C Rudberg
British Journal of Surgery 2010, 97 (4): 600-8
20186889

BACKGROUND: Chronic postoperative pain is a major drawback of inguinal hernia repair. This study compared the frequency of chronic pain after laparoscopic (totally extraperitoneal patch, TEP) and open (Lichtenstein) repairs.

METHODS: A randomized multicentre study with 5 years' follow-up was conducted on men with a primary inguinal hernia. Chronic pain was categorized as mild, moderate or severe by blinded observers. A subgroup analysis was performed on 121 patients who experienced moderate or severe pain at any time during follow-up.

RESULTS: Overall, 1370 of 1512 randomized patients underwent surgery, 665 in the TEP and 705 in the Lichtenstein group. The total incidence of chronic pain was 11.0 versus 21.7 per cent at 1 year, 11.0 versus 24.8 per cent at 2 years, 9.9 versus 20.2 per cent at 3 years and 9.4 versus 18.8 per cent at 5 years in the TEP and Lichtenstein groups respectively (P < 0.001). After 5 years, 1.9 per cent of patients in the TEP and 3.5 per cent in the Lichtenstein group reported moderate or severe pain (P = 0.092). Of the 121 patients, 72 (59.5 per cent) no longer reported pain a median of 9.4 (range 6.7-10.8) years after operation.

CONCLUSION: Five years after surgery only a small proportion of patients still report moderate to severe chronic pain. Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair leads to less chronic pain than open repair.

REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT00568269 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov).

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