Background: The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of chronic pain or discomfort after laparoscopic totally extraperitoneal (TEP) repair and open mesh repair of groin hernia, and to assess the impact of such pain on patients' physical activity.
Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to patients who had TEP or open mesh repair of groin hernia between January 1998 and December 1999. The patients were asked about any persistent pain or discomfort in relation to the groin hernia repair and whether this pain or discomfort restricted their ability to undertake physical or sporting activity.
Results: Of the 560 available patients 454 (81.1 per cent) replied. Laparoscopic TEP repair was performed in 240 patients (52.9 per cent) and open mesh repair in 214 (47.1 per cent). Of the 454 patients, 136 (30.0 per cent) reported chronic groin pain or discomfort, which was significantly more common after open repair than after laparoscopic repair (38.3 versus 22.5 per cent; P < 0.01). Chronic groin pain or discomfort restricted daily physical or sporting activity in 18.1 per cent of the patients. The patients who had open repair complained of significantly more restriction of daily physical activity than patients who underwent laparoscopic repair (walking, P < 0.05; lifting a bag of groceries, P < 0.01).
Conclusion: Chronic pain or discomfort was reported by 30.0 per cent of patients after groin hernia repair and was significantly more common after open mesh repair than after laparoscopic TEP repair. It restricted physical or sporting activities in 18.1 per cent of the patients and significantly more so after open mesh repair.