Chronic pain, discomfort, quality of life and impact on sex life after open inguinal hernia mesh repair: an expertise-based randomized clinical trial comparing lightweight and heavyweight mesh

Research paper by M. Rutegård, R. Gümüsçü, G. Stylianidis, P. Nordin, E. Nilsson, M. M. Haapamäki

Indexed on: 21 Jan '18Published on: 20 Jan '18Published in: Hernia


There is a paucity of high-quality evidence concerning mesh choice in open inguinal hernia repair. Using an expertise-based randomized clinical trial design, we aimed to evaluate the postoperative impact of two different mesh types on pain and discomfort, quality of life and sex life.In two regional hospitals, male patients with primary inguinal hernia were randomized to one of two groups of surgeons that performed the Lichtenstein operation. One group of surgeons used a heavyweight polypropylene mesh (90 g/m2, Bard™ Flatmesh, Davol) while the second group employed a lightweight mesh (28 g/m2, ULTRAPRO™, Ethicon). Follow-up data were collected by questionnaires and outpatient visits in the range of 1–3 years after surgery.Some 412 patients were randomized and 363 patients were analysed. There was no difference in pain between groups after surgery but a statistically significant difference concerning awareness of a groin lump and groin discomfort, favouring the lightweight group 1 year after surgery. No differences in quality of life between groups could be detected but both groups had a substantially better quality of life postoperatively, as compared to before surgery. In the analysis of impact on sex life, no differences between mesh groups were found.The Lichtenstein operation performed for primary inguinal hernia improves quality of life for most of the male patients, independently of the type of mesh used. The lightweight mesh group experienced less awareness of a groin lump and groin discomfort 1 year postoperatively.ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00451893.