Prospective study of pain, quality of life and the economic impact of open inguinal hernia repair

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BackgroundThere are variations in quality of life (QoL) and reported risk of chronic pain after inguinal hernia repair. The aim of this study was to investigate the improvement in pain and QoL after open inguinal hernia repair, and the economic impact.MethodsPatients undergoing open mesh repair of a primary unilateral inguinal hernia were stratified depending on preoperative levels of symptoms and pain. Short Form 36 (SF-36®) and EQ-5D™ questionnaires were filled in before, and at 3 and 12 months after surgery. EQ-5D™ data, together with information on the mean value of a quality-adjusted life-year and the societal cost of hernia repair, were used to calculate the monetary value of QoL gained and the mean return on investment.ResultsOf 225 patients who began the study, 184 completed follow-up at 12 months. Some 77·2 per cent reported improvement in pain and 5·4 per cent reported increased pain after surgery. Significant improvement in SF-36® scores, pain scores measured on a visual analogue scale (VAS), and symptoms were found in the majority of patients, even those with mild symptoms before surgery. For the whole group, the bodily pain score increased from 56·4 before surgery to 82·6 at 12 months after hernia repair (P < 0·050), and the VAS score decreased from a median of 4 to 0 (P< 0·050). The return on investment was positive for all groups of patients, including those with mild symptoms.ConclusionQoL improves after open inguinal hernia repair, with a good return on investment independent of symptom severity.Excellent return on investment

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