Objective: To compare postoperative pain after laparoscopic hernia repair and conventional open hernia repair.
Design: Prospective, randomized study.
Setting: Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Patients: Sixty-two patients scheduled for elective inguinal hernia repair.
Interventions: Patients were randomized in the operating room to have a laparoscopic hernia repair (30 patients) or a conventional open hernia repair (32 patients). All operations were performed while the patient was under general anesthesia to avoid anesthesia as a confounding variable.
Measures: Postoperative pain following laparoscopic hernia repair and open hernia repair were compared using the McGill Pain Score, the McGill Visual Analogue Pain Scale score, and the number of acetaminophen with 30-mg codeine sulfate (Tylenol 3) tablets needed for pain during the first and second 24-hour periods postoperatively. All of the patients were interviewed and the postoperative pain was evaluated by a special study nurse (P.M.L.) who was blinded to the repair technique.
Results: At 24 hours, the patients with laparoscopic hernia repair had 26% less pain by the McGill Pain Score (P = .02) and 31% less pain by the McGill Visual Analogue Scale (P = .006) than those who underwent an open hernia repair. At 48 hours the patients who underwent laparoscopic hernia repair had 28% less pain by the McGill Pain Score (P = .03), 42% less pain by the McGill Visual Analogue Scale (P = .002), and used 42% fewer analgesic tablets (P = .004).
Conclusion: Patients with a laparoscopic hernia repair had significantly less pain postoperatively than those with standard open hernia repairs.