Objective: To assess the impact of the laparoscopic inguinal release procedure with mesh reinforcement on athletes with groin pain.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Private sector.
Patients: Professional and amateur sportsmen/women undergoing the inguinal release for groin pain.
Main outcome measurements: Change in patient's symptoms, functional limitation and time to resuming sporting activity following surgery.
Results: 73 sportsmen/women underwent laparoscopic inguinal release in the study period, 37 (51%) of whom were professionals. 95% were male with a median age of 30 years. Following operation, patients returned to light training at a median of 1 week, full training at 3 weeks (professionals-2 weeks) and playing competitively at 4 weeks (professionals-3 weeks). 74% considered themselves match-fit by 4 weeks (84% of professionals). Following surgery, there was a highly significant improvement in frequency of pain, severity of pain and functional limitation in both the whole cohort and professional group. 88% reported a return to full fitness at follow-up, with 73% reporting complete absence of symptoms. 97% of the cohort thought the operation had improved their symptoms.
Conclusions: This study shows that the laparoscopic inguinal release procedure may be effective in the treatment of a subgroup of athletes with groin pain.