Chronic pain after groin hernia repair: pain characteristics and impact on quality of life



Abstract Background Chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP) after hernia repair research has mainly relied on unconfirmed self-reporting. We aimed to describe confirmed CPSP incidence, management, and quality of life (QoL) in a 2-year prospective study. Methods Multicenter study (GENDOLCAT) of 3890 patients undergoing 4 common surgical procedures in 23 hospitals to develop a risk model for CPSP; 2352 men underwent open hernia repair. Patients with pain were identified by telephone at 1 and 3 months and referred to the hospital 4 months after surgery for a physical examination to confirm CPSP. Three validated tools were used: the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) for severity, analgesic use, and interference with activities; the SF-12 questionnaire for QoL (validated Spanish version), and the Douleur Neuropathique 4 (DN4). Patients with CPSP were called again at 1 and 2 years. Results In 1761 patients who underwent hernia repair and were eligible for physical examination for CPSP, the incidence of confirmed pain at 4 months was 13.6% (patient-reported pain, 6.2% at 1 year and 4.0% at 2 years). Neuropathic pain was diagnosed in 38.5% of the CPSP patients at 4 months. The incidences of neuropathic CPSP in patients with mesh or non-mesh repairs were similar (38.6 and 33.3%, respectively). SF-12 physical component scores changed little in all patients, whether or not they developed CPSP. The SF-12 mental component decreased significantly in all patients, but the decrease was clinically significant only in CPSP patients. CPSP interfered with activities (18%), work (15.6%), walking (15%) and mood (10.2%). At 2 years 52.1% of CPSP patients had moderate/intense pain and 28.2% took analgesics. Conclusion CPSP affects QoL-related activities, and although it diminishes over the course of 2 years after surgery, many patients continue to have moderate/intense pain and take analgesics. CPSP and neuropathic pain rates seem to be similar after mesh and non-mesh repair. BPI and SF-12 mental component scores detect effects on QoL. Trial registration NCT01510496.
Date made available7 Jul 2020

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