Surgery occasionally is proposed in patients with chronic abdominal wall pain caused by an anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome (ACNES) who are refractory to injection therapy. An anterior neurectomy may seem successful, but follow-up is usually short and populations are small. The primary aim of this study was to determine the long-term success rate of surgery in a large ACNES population.Methods.
In this retrospective observational study, patients with ACNES ≥18 years who underwent a primary anterior neurectomy between January 2004 and February 2012 in one single center were studied. Pain scores were obtained before surgery, after surgery, and at the moment of questioning using a pain intensity numeric rating scale (PI-NRS 0–10) and a 6-point verbal category rating scale. Success was defined as a ≥50% PI-NRS reduction or ≥2 point verbal rating scale reduction.Results.
Data of 181 neurectomies in 154 individuals were available for analysis (female, n = 127, 82.5%; age 47 ± 17 years, range, 20–83). Pain before operation was severe (mean PI-NRS 8.08, SD 1.43). Short-term (1–3 months postoperative) success was 70% (127/181 procedures). Three subjects showed spontaneous remission of complaints after ≥3 months. After a mean 32 months (range, 3–93) follow-up, a success rate of 61% (109/180) on the long-term was found.Conclusion.
A 70% short-term success rate and a 61% long-term success rate after a primary anterior neurectomy in patients with chronic abdominal pain due to ACNES were attained. Surgery is the method of choice in ACNES patients who are refractory to a conservative regimen.