A Pain Education Intervention for Patients Undergoing Ambulatory Inguinal Hernia Repair: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background

Inguinal hernia repair is a common ambulatory surgery after which many patients experience moderate to severe post-operative pain. Limited research has examined the effect of education interventions to reduce pain after ambulatory surgery.

Purpose

This trial evaluated the effectiveness of an individualized Hernia Repair Education Intervention (HREI) for patients following inguinal hernia repair.

Method

Pre-operatively, participants (N = 82) were randomized to either the intervention (HREI) or the usual care group. The HREI included written and verbal information regarding managing pain and two telephone support calls (before and after surgery). The primary outcome was WORST 24-h pain intensity on movement on post-operative day 2. Secondary outcomes included pain intensity at rest and movement, pain-related interference with activities, pain quality, analgesics consumed, and adverse effects at post-operative days 2 and 7.

Results

At day 2, the intervention group reported significantly lower scores across pain intensity outcomes, including WORST 24-h pain on movement and at rest (p < 0.001), and pain NOW on movement and at rest (p = 0.001).

Conclusion

These findings suggest that the HREI may improve patients’ pain and function following ambulatory inguinal hernia repair. Further research should examine the effectiveness of an education intervention over a longer period of time.

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