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groin pain after open inguinal hernia repair

November 23 2011 at 11:44 PM
Mike B. 
from IP address

I'm a 45 year old male. Several months ago, I noticed a small bulge in the left side of my groin. My doctor said it was a hernia and referred me to a surgeon. On November 9 of this year, I had an open left inguinal hernia repair done with mesh. As an infant, I had had a hernia repaired in the same area.

In the recovery room after surgery, the surgeon said he had "dug some of the scar tissue out" from the infant surgery. He also said he had been able to push the hernial sac back in.

It has now been two weeks since the surgery. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that I am noticing considerable improvement in the pain around the area of the incision. I am also moving a lot better and am quite functional.

The bad news, however, is that I am having constant pain in my left groin. The pain is a burning, raw, irritated, and sometimes itchy feeling. When I look at the area, I fully expect it to look red and raw, but it looks normal. The pain is at the top of my inner left thigh, on the left side of my scrotum, and in the area immediately above and to the left of my penis. Also, my left testicle is quite sensitive and a little bit sore. Wearing anything other than very loose shorts is uncomfortable, especially if I have to do any walking or standing on my feet.

Is this kind of burning, raw feeling common after hernia repair? I'm worried that nerves were damaged or irritated during the surgery. Should I be doing something now to address this problem, or should I give things time to improve on their own? If so, how much time? Will waiting make it harder to fix things in the future because the scarring process will be further along?

Thanks for any advice you can provide.

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James Goodyear, MD,FACS

Re: groin pain after open inguinal hernia repair

November 24 2011, 12:00 PM 

Although your post-operative pain may be a bit more severe and prolonged compared to our average expectations, this is a recurrent hernia by definition. These do take longer to heal and for patients to fully recuperate. It has only been about 2 weeks + for you, and I feel it is too soon to be overly concerned. If you are slowly improving, that is good news. Keep in touch with your surgeon however if your progress does not continue, albeit slowly.

We do not consider a diagnosis of Post-Herniorrhaphy Pain Syndrome unless/until the pain remains somewhat severe and disabling for over 2-3 months.

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Mike B.

groin pain after open inguinal hernia repair

November 24 2011, 4:50 PM 

Thank you for your response, Dr. Goodyear. I guess all I can do is wait and hope the groin pain resolves. So far, unlike the pain at the incision site, the groin pain does not seem to be improving. It's just a consistent burning pain, maybe 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.

I found an interesting article on the website about "chronic postoperative pain." It said there are several factors, some of which are psychological, that seem to predispose people to chronic pain after surgery. Two or three of those factors are present in my case, which is a little alarming. But I guess only time will tell if my pain is "chronic" or not.

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how you feel now

February 24 2012, 10:54 PM 

How do you feel now?

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Same issues

November 28 2011, 12:31 PM 

Hi there,

I had to respond because I am having a lot of the same symptoms as you and its been 10 years since my surgery. I have the groin pain, the itchyness, my left testicle is sensitive, but the weird thing is that I can have days where this doesnt bother me at all and then I will have days where I can barely walk at all.

Keep us posted as to what you find out. I've been 60 6-7 Drs about my pain and discomfort of the past 10 years and no one knows what to do.

Currently I'm taking pain medication to deal with the bad days, but regardless this still impacts my "Quality of life" as I can not workout or play sports or be intimate with my girl friend.


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Mike B.

re: same issues

December 3 2011, 7:03 PM 

Since it has been so long, have you considered exploratory surgery like the kind Dr. Goodyear offers to see if anything can be done surgically to help?

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Still N. Pain

Post- Herniorrhaphy Pain Syndrome /?

January 23 2012, 10:05 AM 

I had an open inguinal surgery Nov. 23rd 2012. The burning, sharp pain in my upper thigh and incision area are almost to much to cope with. I can not walk without limping. The swelling never goes away, gets worse with activity. All the Dr.s have told me to "wait up to one year." Is my employer supposed to wait for a Year? Do I have to tolerate this pain for 10 more months? I am currently taking pain medication, it takes the edge off but the pain level stays a strong "7" while on medication.What options are there, if any for me? PLEASE HELP! A specialist has told me I have an entrapped nerve. He believes the nerve is rubbing directly on the mesh. He said that after one year, the scar tissue may build up to give cushion and possible relief. He also talked about an alcohol injection to kill the nerve. He also said that if he didi surgery now I would be a bad bleeder and have a high risk of losing my testicle. ADVICE PLEASE! Thank you.

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pain two weeks after surgery

February 24 2012, 10:51 PM 

Thanks for the post. I am two weeks post open inguinal surgery, plug and patch. The first week was standard soreness and tightness. Around the 10 day mark, things were starting to loosen and walking and doing light household chores became more manageable. Then wham, on the 11th day I started to feel a burning sesation around my left testicle (same side as op) kinda next to teste on my groin but pain radiates into my teste on deep breaths and certain positions. Saw my doc and an ultrasound was done on testicle and everything came back normal. I am more concerned that I had this burning, stinging pain on day 14 (today) and it has really laid me up. The pain is about 2 inches below my incision. Is this normal when things start to wear off? I mean I am still pretty numb down there but I can feel the numbness starting to move away. I have been wearning tighter fitting underwear to alleviate the sagging of the scotrum and pain related to that. I am taking motrin only cause the perks are rough on me and I don't like the way they make me feel. Is all this normal at this stage of recovery? Heading into week 3? Hope things getter soon.

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Burning and skin sensitivity resolution

February 3 2014, 5:02 PM 

Hi I had bilateral open hernia repair 2 weeks back and have had a persistent skin sensitivity and burning itchiness below the incision line -,base and sides of groin and adjacent scrotum for about 8 days
I'm wonder if your similar situation resolved by itself ( like menu do apparently) and if so how long this took
This is really the only significant pain I'm experiencing and it's pretty debilitating
Hope you made it through ok!



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