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Chronic Post-Hernia Repair Pain -- Causes, Symptoms and Treatments


Updated May 15, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

What Post-Hernia Repair Pain Is:

Post-hernia repair pain is a type of chronic postoperative pain. Sometimes after a hernia repair, pain symptoms persist for longer than the expected surgery recovery time, and may become chronic. Post-hernia pain is often a problem for people recovering from different types of hernia surgery.

What Causes Post-Hernia Repair Pain:

The cause is often a bit of a mystery, however many researchers believe it has something to do with the nerves in the abdomen and pelvis. During surgery, if the ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric or genitofemoral nerves become damaged or even trapped in the sutures, chronic post-hernia repair pain can develop. This is an example of a neuropathic cause. However, some post hernia repair pain is described as being somatic as well, or caused by damage to soft tissues.

Post-Hernia Repair Pain Risks:

Like other forms of chronic postoperative pain, the risks for developing chronic post-hernia repair pain are greater for:
  • People with high pre-operative pain
  • People under the age of 50
  • People with pre-existing nociceptive pain, such as visceral or somatic pain
  • People with recurrent hernias requiring repairs

Post-Hernia Repair Pain Symptoms:

Post-hernia repair pain may be located in the groin, though it also may be reported in and around the scar site as well as the upper thigh. For some people, pain is worse when standing, sitting or climbing stairs. For some people, post-hernia repair pain is mild. For others, however, it can be much more severe.

Treating Post-Hernia Repair Pain:

Post-hernia repair pain can be treated with any of the following:


Aroori Somaiah and Spence Roy AJ. Chronic Pain After Hernia Surgery –An Informed Consent Issue. Ulster Medical Journal. 2007 September; 76(3): 136–140

Dickinson KJ , Thomas M, Fawole1 AS et al. Predicting Chronic Post-Operative Pain Following Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair. Hernia. Volume 12, Number 6 / December, 2008

Fränneby Ulf, Sandblom Gabriel, Nordin Pär et al. Risk Factors for Long-term Pain After Hernia Surgery. Annals of Surgery. 2006 August; 244(2): 212–219

Macrae, WA. Chronic Post-Surgical Pain: 10 Years On. British Journal of Anaesthesia, doi:10.1093/bja/aen099

Massaron S, Bona S, Fumagalli U et al. Analysis of Post-Surgical Pain After Inguinal Hernia Repair: A Prospective Study of 1,440 Operations. Hernia. Volume 11, Number 6, December 2007 , pp. 517-525(9)

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