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Papers of the Week

2021 Dec




Role of Neurectomy in Inguinodynia Following Hernioplasty: A Randomized Controlled Trial.


Bara B K, Mohanty S K, Behera S N, Sahoo A K, Agasti S, Patnaik S, Swain S K
Cureus. 2021 Dec; 13(12):e20306.
PMID: 35024257.


Introduction To date, Lichtenstein tension-free mesh hernioplasty is being adopted widely for inguinal hernia repair in adults, although it is accompanied by procedural complications such as recurrences, infection, testicular atrophy, post-operative pain, and nerve injury. As the recurrence rate decreased after Lichtenstein's tension-free hernioplasty, surgeons' point of focus shifted more toward postoperative groin pain (inguinodynia) after inguinal hernia repair, as it has become a quite significant problem. The nerves of interest in the inguinal region are ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, genitofemoral, and lateral femoral cutaneous nerves. Out of all the nerves, the ilioinguinal nerve is at the greatest risk of entrapment during meshplasty. Chronic groin pain is quite significant following hernia repair, and irrespective of the severity, it can interfere with normal daily activity. The traditional surgical technique recommends the preservation of the ilioinguinal nerve to avoid the morbidity associated with the cutaneous sensory loss supplied by the nerve. One popular belief is that if we excise the ilioinguinal nerve, then the chance of getting post-operative neuralgia due to entrapment, inflammation, neuroma, or fibrotic reactions will almost become zero. Hence, this study was conducted to evaluate the effect of prophylactic excision of the ilioinguinal nerve in the patients undergoing Lichtenstein hernioplasty for inguinal hernias. Methods All consecutive male patients presenting to the Department of Surgery with inguinal hernia and age above 18 years were included in the study. All the patients were operated on under spinal anesthesia. Lichtenstein tension-free hernia repair was taken as the standard procedure for hernia repair. Patients in whom the nerve was preserved were kept in group A, whereas group B comprised patients who had undergone neurectomy. Patients were followed up regarding pain at first, third, and sixth months, at rest, and after exercise. The pain was graded according to the VAS (visual analog scale) scoring. Results In the present study, out of a total of 92 patients, 80 patients were included. In the first month, 15% of the patients in group A had mild pain, while 5% in group B had experienced a moderate degree of pain at rest. After exercise, the result was 30% in group B. Similarly, in the third month of follow-up, it was found that 25% of the patients in group A experienced mild pain, while 12.5% complained about a moderate degree of pain who had to take analgesics for a longer period. After putting them to exercise and then grading the pain, it was found that 32.5% in group A and 15% in group B experienced pain. After follow-up for six months in both groups, it was revealed that there was no significant difference in post-operative pain at rest (10% and 7.5% in groups A and B, respectively). After exercise, 20% of patients in group A complained of pain, while in group B, only 10% experienced pain. There was no significant difference between both the groups while comparing chronic groin pain at rest and after exercise, and after different time intervals in follow-up (p = 0.4513 and 0.548, respectively). Conclusion Prophylactic excision of the ilioinguinal nerve in Lichtenstein tension-free meshplasty decreased the incidence of chronic groin pain after surgery but it was statistically insignificant. Furthermore, this procedure did not affect the quality of life after surgery.