Background: Chronic groin pain, especially in professional sportsmen, is a difficult clinical problem.
Methods: From January 1999 to August 2005, 55 professional and semiprofessional sportsmen (53 males; mean age, 25 +/- 4.5 years; range, 17-36 years) with undiagnosed chronic groin pain were followed prospectively. All the patients underwent an endoscopic total extraperitoneal (TEP) mesh placement.
Results: Incipient hernia was diagnosed in the study athletes: 15 on the right side (27%), 12 on the left side (22%), and 9 bilaterally (16%). In 20 patients (36%), an inguinal hernia was found: 3 direct inguinal hernias (5%) and 17 indirect hernias (31%). All the athletes returned to their normal sports level within 3 months after the operation.
Conclusions: A TEP repair must be proposed to patients with prolonged groin pain unresponsive to conservative treatment. If no clear pathology is identified, reinforcement of the wall using a mesh offers good clinical results for athletes with idiopathic groin pain.