Hernia repair: why do we continue to perform mesh repair in the face of the human toll of inguinodynia?

Am J Surg. 2013 Oct;206(4):619-23. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2013.03.010. Epub 2013 Jul 17.


Fifteen to 20 years ago, transversalis and Shouldice Hospital repairs were standard, with a 4% to 6% rate of recurrence. With a focus on recurrence, various mesh repairs were proposed to reduce the incidence of recurrence. With these repairs, an increased incidence of inguinodynia due to the entrapment of the nerves proximate (adjacent) to the mesh has been observed. Many surgeons doubted its existence; however, there is sufficient evidence that with mesh repair in which the affected nerves are resected, the incidence of severe pain is lessened considerably. Triple neurectomy has been proposed as a therapy, but only 80% of patients are relieved of pain. Recurrence is insufficient to make patients' lives miserable, with mesh repair reporting up to a 21% incidence of inguinodynia. Although few surgeons today perform this procedure and most residents have never seen it, the author proposes that mesh repairs be abandoned and the transversalis or Shouldice Hospital repair be adopted.

Keywords: Hernia; Hernia repair; Inguinodynia; Mesh; Nerve entrapment.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery*
  • Herniorrhaphy / methods*
  • Herniorrhaphy / trends
  • Humans
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / etiology*
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / surgery
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / surgery
  • Pelvis / innervation*
  • Pelvis / surgery
  • Peripheral Nerves / surgery
  • Surgical Mesh / adverse effects*