Background: The aim was to provide a detailed description of any residual pain 1 year after elective day-case open groin hernia repair under local anaesthesia.
Methods: This was a prospective consecutive case series study by questionnaire of 500 consecutive operations in 466 unselected adult patients 1 year after surgery. Pain was scored (none, mild, moderate or severe) at rest, while coughing and during mobilization, and compared with similar data collected 1 and 4 weeks after operation.
Results: Some 419 questionnaires were returned (response rate 93 per cent); 20 patients had died within the year and 30 data sets from patients who had a subsequent operation during the study were excluded. Eighty patients (19 per cent) reported some degree of pain, and 25 (6 per cent) had moderate or severe pain. Pain restricted daily function in 24 patients (6 per cent). The incidence of moderate or severe pain was higher after repair of recurrent than primary hernias (14 versus 3 per cent; P < 0.001). The risk of developing moderate or severe pain was increased in patients who had a high pain score 1 week after operation (9 versus 3 per cent; P < 0.05) and also in patients who had moderate or severe pain 4 weeks after operation (24 versus 3 per cent; P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Chronic pain is a significant problem after open groin hernia repair. It may be worse after surgery for a recurrent hernia and may be predicted by the intensity of early postoperative pain.