Post herniorraphy pain syndrome
Post herniorrhaphy pain syndrome, or inguinodynia is pain or discomfort lasting greater than 3 months after surgery of inguinal hernia. Randomized trials of laparoscopic vs open inguinal hernia repair have demonstrated similar recurrence rates with the use of mesh and have identified that chronic groin pain (>10%) surpasses recurrence (<2%) and is an important measure of success.
Chronic groin pain is potentially disabling with neuralgia, parasthesia, hypoesthesia, and hyperesthesia. Patients may be unable to work, have limited physical & social activities, sleep disturbances, and psychologic distress. The management of inguinodynia is a difficult problem for many surgeons and 5–7% of patients experiencing post-hernia repair groin pain litigate.
Neuropathic pain is defined as pain in the sensory distribution of an offended nerve. This may be due to preexisting stretch injury or intraoperative nerve injury. It is often described as stabbing and burning. Nociceptive pain includes somatic and visceral pain. Somatic pain may be due to chronic inflammation from tissue injury and is described as gnawing, tender, and pounding. Visceral pain can manifest as testicular and ejaculatory pain which may be associated with mesh ingrowth into spermatic cord structures.
Transection of the nerves routinely is not a recommended strategy, as it can sometimes increase the pain further. It also increases sensory disturbances in the area of distribution of the transected nerve.
No identification at all is the worst, and many surgeons are not making this identification. For example, in daily practice, surgeons identify all three inguinal nerves as three single nerves in less than 40% of the cases, while the literature shows that this identification can be done in 70-90% of the cases. The challenge is that the course of both ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric nerves is found to be consistent with that described in anatomical texts in only 42% of patients. However, these anatomical variations are readily identifiable.
Method of fixation has also been hotly debated with varying results reported with few consistent findings of decreased long term groin pain. However, fibrin glue seems to have a slight advantage. Types of mesh have also been studied, suggesting a small advantage for lightweight over heavyweight, and for biologic mesh over synthetic.
The role of hernia sac ligation is also being discussed. When ligation and excision of the sac is omitted, there is less reported short-term post-operative pain. However, the impact of this omission on long-term pain has not been widely studied so far.
Evaluation and treatment can be very challenging in this patient population. Exam and imaging to exclude occult recurrence is important. Following that, use of antiinflammatories, nerve blocks, neuromodulators, and pain clinic referrals should be considered. Unless there is evidence of a recurrence, operative intervention should be deferred for at least 1 year since groin pain decreases with time elapsed from surgery.
Triple neurectomy and/or mesh removal
If operative repair is chosen, mesh excision +/- triple neurectomy may be considered with small studies suggesting good outcomes. The largest series encompassing 415 patient, most following open or suture repair, demonstrates significant improvement following triple neurectomy.
However, standard triple neurectomy does not address inguinodynia secondary to neuropathy of the genitofemoral nerve and the preperitoneal segment of its genital branch. But extension of the standard triple neurectomy to include the genitofemoral nerve has given good results, on a small series of 16 patients.
Mesh removal should only be considered in last resort. Meshes are easy to place but difficult to remove, due to their incorporation inside the peritoneum.
Other algorithms proposed have included diagnostic laparoscopy at the start for evaluation of adhesions, removal of mesh, and repair of any recurrences. If there is no improvement then a staged procedure to remove mesh and neurectomy may be considered.
Chronic groin pain is more common than recurrence, and it may be lower following laparoscopic hernia repair. Pain often resolves with conservative measures. Following complete evaluation of patient and attempts at non surgical treatment, surgery may be considered. Various treatment algorithms exist with promising results.
The true incidence is difficult to determine, pain having a subjective component. A prospective series of open Lichtenstein (419 patients) noted that at 1 year followup, 19% of patients had pain, 6% with moderate or severe degree. Predictors of moderate or severe pain included: recurrent hernia, high pain score at 1 week postop, and high pain score at 4 weeks postop.
A Scottish population based study of 4062 patients identified at 3 months postop an incidence of 43% mild pain and 3% severe or very severe pain. The severe and very severe group was associated with young age and female gender. A further survey of the 3% severe pain cohort (at a median of 30 months) found that 29% resolved, 39% improved and 26% continued with severe, or very severe pain.
A followup of a randomized study of 750 laparoscopic vs. open hernia repair followed patients’ pain scores at 2 and 5 years post hernia repair via questionnaire. At 2 years, the chronic pain rate was 24.3% (lap) vs. 29.4% (open), and at 5 year follow up it was 18.1% (lap) vs. 20.1% (open). At 5 years, 4.3% in lap group and 3.7% in open group had attended a pain clinic.
A larger and more recent study which was a followup at 5 years of 1370 from a randomized study of TEP vs. open repair demonstrated lower pain rates in the laparoscopic group (10% vs. 20%). Inguinodynia symptoms decreased over time, even in those in the moderate to severe pain group. In addition, when an inguinal pain questionnaire was administered to these individuals at a median followup of 9.4 years, physical ability was affected more in the open repair group. Predictors of chronic pain in the TEP group included Body Mass Index ≤ 3rd quartile (OR: 3.04), difference in preop and postop physical testing (OR: 2.14) and time to full recovery exceeding the median (OR: 2.09). In the open group, the only association was noted with postoperative pain score exceeding the third quartile (OR: 1.89 ).
Use of mesh-based repair vs. suture-based repair has also been discussed. Some results suggest less inguinodynia after Shouldice (suture) than Lichtenstein (open mesh) for young men. Other studies find equal results between Shouldice and laparoscopic TEP. It must be recalled that the experience of the surgeon critically impacts the results, especially for Shouldice and laparoscopic repairs, which are fairly technical operations.
- Simons, M. P.; Aufenacker, T.; Bay-Nielsen, M.; Bouillot, J. L.; Campanelli, G.; Conze, J.; Lange, D.; Fortelny, R.; Heikkinen, T. (2009). "European Hernia Society guidelines on the treatment of inguinal hernia in adult patients". Hernia. 13 (4): 343–403. doi:10.1007/s10029-009-0529-7. PMC 2719730. PMID 19636493.
- Rosenberg, Jacob; Bisgaard, Thue; Kehlet, Henrik; Wara, Pål; Asmussen, Torsten; Juul, Poul; Strand, Lasse; Andersen, Finn Heidemann; Bay-Nielsen, Morten (2011). "Danish Hernia Database recommendations for the management of inguinal and femoral hernia in adults" (PDF). Danish Medical Bulletin. 58 (2): C4243. PMID 21299930. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-03.
- Alfieri, S.; Amid, P. K.; Campanelli, G.; Izard, G.; Kehlet, H.; Wijsmuller, A. R.; Di Miceli, D.; Doglietto, G. B. (2011). "International guidelines for prevention and management of post-operative chronic pain following inguinal hernia surgery". Hernia. 15 (3): 239–49. doi:10.1007/s10029-011-0798-9. PMID 21365287.
- Alfieri, Sergio; Rotondi, Fabio; Di Miceli, Dario; Di Giorgio, Andrea; Ridolfini, Marco Pericoli; Fumagalli, Uberto; Salzano, Antonio; Prete, Francesco Paolo; Spadari, Antonio (2006). "Il dolore cronico dopo ernioplastica inguinale con protesi: il possibile ruolo della manipolazione chirurgica dei nervi del canale inguinale" [Chronic pain after inguinal hernia mesh repair: Possible role of surgical manipulation of the inguinal nerves. A prospective multicentre study of 973 cases] (PDF). Chirurgia Italiana (in Italian). 58 (1): 23–31. PMID 16729606.
- Ballert, Erik (2009). "Chronic Postoperative Inguinodynia: A pain in the *&%^".[self-published source?]
- Picchio, Marcello; Palimento, Domenico; Attanasio, Ugo; Matarazzo, Pietro Filippo; Bambini, Chiara; Caliendo, Angelo (2004). "Randomized Controlled Trial of Preservation or Elective Division of Ilioinguinal Nerve on Open Inguinal Hernia Repair with Polypropylene Mesh". Archives of Surgery. 139 (7): 755–8, discussion 759. doi:10.1001/archsurg.139.7.755. PMID 15249409.
- Al-dabbagh, A. K. R. (2002). "Anatomical variations of the inguinal nerves and risks of injury in 110 hernia repairs". Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy. 24 (2): 102–7. doi:10.1007/s00276-002-0006-9. PMID 12197017.
- Ansaloni, Luca; Catena, Fausto; Coccolini, Federico; Gazzotti, Filippo; d'Alessandro, Luigi; Pinna, Antonio Daniele (2009). "Inguinal hernia repair with porcine small intestine submucosa: 3-year follow-up results of a randomized controlled trial of Lichtenstein's repair with polypropylene mesh versus Surgisis Inguinal Hernia Matrix". The American Journal of Surgery. 198 (3): 303–12. doi:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2008.09.021. PMID 19285658.
- Mohammadhosseini, Bijan (2010). "Risk Factors for Persistent Postherniorrhaphy Pain: Unresolved". Anesthesiology. 113 (5): 1243–4, author reply 1244. doi:10.1097/ALN.0b013e3181f69604. PMID 20966668.
- Shulman, AG; Amid, PK; Lichtenstein, IL (1993). "Ligation of hernial sac. A needless step in adult hernioplasty". International Surgery. 78 (2): 152–3. PMID 8354615.
- Delikoukos, S.; Lavant, L.; Hlias, G.; Palogos, K.; Gikas, D. (2007). "The role of hernia sac ligation in postoperative pain in patients with elective tension-free indirect inguinal hernia repair: A prospective randomized study". Hernia. 11 (5): 425–8. doi:10.1007/s10029-007-0249-9. PMID 17594052.
- Ferzli, George S.; Edwards, Eric D.; Khoury, George E. (2007). "Chronic Pain after Inguinal Herniorrhaphy". Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 205 (2): 333–41. doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2007.02.081. PMID 17660082.
- Palumbo, P.; Minicucci, A.; Nasti, A. G.; Simonelli, I.; Vietri, F.; Angelici, A. M. (2007). "Treatment for persistent chronic neuralgia after inguinal hernioplasty". Hernia. 11 (6): 527–31. doi:10.1007/s10029-007-0268-6. PMID 17668147.
- Delikoukos, S.; Fafoulakis, F.; Christodoulidis, G.; Theodoropoulos, T.; Hatzitheofilou, C. (2008). "Re-operation due to severe late-onset persisting groin pain following anterior inguinal hernia repair with mesh". Hernia. 12 (6): 593–5. doi:10.1007/s10029-008-0392-y. PMID 18542838.
- Vuilleumier, Henri; Hübner, Martin; Demartines, Nicolas (2009). "Neuropathy After Herniorrhaphy: Indication for Surgical Treatment and Outcome" (PDF). World Journal of Surgery. 33 (4): 841–5. doi:10.1007/s00268-008-9869-1. PMID 19156462.
- Aasvang, Eske K.; Kehlet, Henrik (2009). "The Effect of Mesh Removal and Selective Neurectomy on Persistent Postherniotomy Pain". Annals of Surgery. 249 (2): 327–34. doi:10.1097/SLA.0b013e31818eec49. PMID 19212190.
- Amid, Parviz K.; Hiatt, Jonathan R. (2007). "New Understanding of the Causes and Surgical Treatment of Postherniorrhaphy Inguinodynia and Orchalgia". Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 205 (2): 381–5. doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2007.04.001. PMID 17660088.
- Amid, Parviz K.; Chen, David C. (2011). "Surgical Treatment of Chronic Groin and Testicular Pain after Laparoscopic and Open Preperitoneal Inguinal Hernia Repair". Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 213 (4): 531–6. doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2011.06.424. PMID 21784668.
- Callesen, T.; Bech, K.; Kehlet, H. (1999). "Prospective study of chronic pain after groin hernia repair". British Journal of Surgery. 86 (12): 1528–31. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2168.1999.01320.x. PMID 10594500.
- Courtney, C. A.; Duffy, K.; Serpell, M. G.; O'Dwyer, P. J. (2002). "Outcome of patients with severe chronic pain following repair of groin hernia". British Journal of Surgery. 89 (10): 1310–4. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2168.2002.02206.x. PMID 12296903.
- Grant, A. M.; Scott, N. W.; O'Dwyer, P. J.; MRC Laparoscopic Groin Hernia Trial Group (2004). "Five-year follow-up of a randomized trial to assess pain and numbness after laparoscopic or open repair of groin hernia". British Journal of Surgery. 91 (12): 1570–4. doi:10.1002/bjs.4799. PMID 15515112.
- Eklund, A.; Montgomery, A.; Bergkvist, L.; Rudberg, C.; Swedish Multicentre Trial of Inguinal Hernia Repair by Laparoscopy (SMIL) study group (2010). "Chronic pain 5 years after randomized comparison of laparoscopic and Lichtenstein inguinal hernia repair". British Journal of Surgery. 97 (4): 600–8. doi:10.1002/bjs.6904. PMID 20186889.
- Wennström, I; Berggren, P; Åkerud, L; Järhult, J (2004). "Equal results with laparoscopic and Shouldice repairs of primary inguinal hernia in men. Report from a prospective randomised study" (PDF). Scandinavian Journal of Surgery. 93 (1): 34–6. doi:10.1177/145749690409300107. PMID 15116817. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-02.
- Ramaswamy, Archana (2010). "Chronic Pain Following Inguinal Hernia Repair". Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.