Background: Pain is an important problem after ambulatory hernia repair. To
assess the influence of the surgical technique on postoperative pain, two
separate randomized, patient-blinded, controlled trials were performed in m
en with an indirect inguinal hernia.
Study Design: In study A, 48 patients with an internal inguinal ring smalle
r than 1.5 cm were randomly allocated to either simple extirpation of the h
ernial sac or extirpation plus annulorrhaphy. In study B, 84 patients with
an internal inguinal ring wider than 1.5 cm were randomly allocated to exti
rpation plus annulorrhaphy or extirpation plus Lichtenstein mesh repair (mo
dified). All operations were performed under unmonitored local anesthesia w
ith standardized perioperative analgesia using methadone and tenoxicam. Pai
n was scored daily for the first postoperative week and after 4 weeks on a
four-point verbal-rank scale (no, light, moderate, or severe pain) during r
est, while coughing, and during mobilization (rising to the sitting positio
n). Use of supplementary analgesics (paracetamol) was recorded. Cumulative
daily pain scores for the first postoperative week and the number of patien
ts who used supplementary analgesics were the main outcome measures.
Results: There were no significant differences in cumulative pain scores or
use of supplementary analgesics between the treatment groups in either stu
dy. Cumulative pain scores were significantly higher during coughing and mo
bilization than during rest in both studies.
Conclusions: Choice of surgical technique for open repair of a primary indi
rect inguinal hernia has no influence on postoperative pain. (J Am Coil Sur
g 1999;188: 355-359. (C) 1999 by the American College of Surgeons).