Surgeon Questions Inguinal Hernia

How common is chronic pain after inguinal hernia surgery?

I'm 27, and have an inguinal hernia. I've seen a number of articles from other men who had this surgery and experienced chronic pain for years after. Is chronic pain common after inguinal hernia surgery?

8 Answers

Inguinal hernias done via an open procedure can have inguinal pain secondary to scarring of ileo-inguinal nerve in this area. When done laparoscopically, this nerve injury is very unlikely to occur.
Discuss with Surgeon or NP. It is not common over time. You may have entrapment syndrome.
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Pain after appendectomy usually resolves shortly, at the most, maybe up to two weeks in the area of surgery, but gradually decreasing on a daily basis. If mesh was used in the surgery area, I would consult with your surgeon and have them reevaluate. Mesh has come into a lot of controversy lately.
In my experience it is quite rare. If you are experiencing pain prior to surgery you are more likely to have pain afterwards.
Chronic pain (more than 6 months) is seen in 8 to 16% of patients after inguinal hernia repair, usually occurs when the nerve is injured or scar tissue grows around the nerve. Laparoscopic surgery has less incidence of pain than open technics.
No, otherwise we would be out of business. Like any surgery, it requires attention to detail by the surgeon. There is an aphorism. "There are no small or minor operations, only small surgeons." You may now laugh. The take away is that any surgery can go horribly wrong. This is true even when everything is done correctly. There are no minor surgeries!
Chronic pain after inguinal hernia repair is not a common complication, but it is possible. If the pain does not improve, the nerve can be removed or seldom the mesh is removed. Most patients will do fine and not have chronic pain and if they do have prolonged pain it will improve with in 6 weeks.
Studies quote a rate of nearly 10% but in my experience, I think the rate is closer to 1-2%. Because hernia surgery is very common, there are lots of people who can describe their experience.

I have also seen the situation where someone is afraid to get their hernia fixed. Over time, they get larger and can extend into the scrotum. People can also get bowel obstructions and even require removal of a piece of intestine during an emergency operation.

It is generally safe to wait on surgery if you do not have symptoms. If you do have symptoms, I would recommend proceeding. I would not let the fear of chronic pain prevent you from proceeding with at least an evaluation for surgery, if not the operation itself.