Background: Chronic pain or discomfort after hernia surgery is nowadays a more challenging concern than recurrence. This study aimed to evaluate the long-term impact of local anaesthetic repair (LA) on pain, discomfort, paraesthesia and functional outcome after Lichtenstein hernia repair as compared to locoregional (LRA) and general anaesthesia (GA).
Methods: patients with primary or recurrent inguinal hernia underwent Lichtenstein repair with a polypropylene mesh. All patients with a follow-up of at least three years were sent a detailed questionnaire and offered an outpatient visit. Kaplan-Meier estimates and Cox proportional hazard regressions were used to analyse the relationship between time to event variables and explanatory variables including anaesthesia type.
Results: Between 1994 and 2006, in two cohorts, 330 patients answered the questionnaire: 100 under GA, 35 under LRA, and 195 under LA. This represented a response rate of 95, 94, and 98% respectively. Compared to GA and LRA, LA resulted in less long term pain, discomfort and paraesthesia. Moreover, resumption of social and professional activities was faster after LA. Recurrence rates were 1, 0, and 0.5% respectively.
Conclusions: After Lichtenstein inguinal hernia repair, LA results in beneficial effects beyond the immediate postoperative period.
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