Routine Neurectomy of Inguinal Nerves During Open Onlay Mesh Hernia Repair: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Trials

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of the study was to establish whether an inguinal neurectomy at the time of hernia repair would reduce the risk of postoperative pain for open tension-free sutured mesh repair.

Background:

Inguinal hernia repair is a common operative procedure. The development of postoperative pain is uncommon, but at times debilitating. The role of inguinal neurectomy is currently unknown, with no single large study available, and previous reviews included only a few heterogeneous studies.

Methods:

Relevant randomized trials were identified from searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and EBM Review databases until October 2014. Meta-analysis was performed based on Cochrane Methods using RevMan v5.3 software. Pain, pain scores, sensory changes, and complications over short (half to <3 months), mid (3 to <12 mo), and long term (≥12 mo) were recorded.

Results:

All included studies performed Lichtenstein hernia repair. Eleven studies on 1031 patients showed significant reduction in pain with neurectomy for short (RR = 0.61, 0.40–0.93) and midterm (RR = 0.30, 0.20–0.46), but not for long term (RR = 0.50, 0.25–1.01). Three studies (270 patients) showed significantly reduced short-term pain (RR = 0.69, 0.52–0.90). No studies included genitofemoral neurectomy. Rates of hematoma, infection, urinary retention, and recurrence were not different between groups.

Conclusions:

Routine ilioinguinal neurectomy during Lichtenstein-type herniorrhaphy seems to be a safe and effective method to reduce pain in the short and midterm, but may have little long-term impact. Iliohypogastric neurectomy seems to reduce pain in at least the short term.

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