When your internal organs or fatty tissue poke through a weak spot in your muscle or connective tissue, a hernia forms. Your hernia may create a noticeable lump or bulge or cause symptoms such as swelling or pain.
Hernias don’t get better over time. When your hernia causes symptoms that interfere with your quality of life or affect your health, our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Michael Sutker, recommends surgery to repair the weakened tissue.
The goal of hernia repair is to alleviate your symptoms, but some people develop groin pain following their surgery. We want to share with you what you can do to get relief from your discomfort.
Post-surgical pain: what’s normal
It’s normal to have some amount of post-surgical pain after a hernia repair. Your discomfort develops from injury to your skin, muscles, and nerves during surgery.
When possible, Dr. Sutker uses minimally invasive surgical techniques for hernia repair, which reduces tissue damage and post-surgical pain. As with any surgery, the goal is to keep pain levels low and tolerable, so you can get moving and recover faster.
Where you feel your pain depends on the site of your surgery. Groin pain most often affects people after an inguinal hernia repair. Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia and develop in the lower part of your abdomen.
Groin pain after hernia repair
You should feel a significant improvement in your hernia discomfort and surgical pain about seven days after your surgery. Though it’s normal to feel some twinges of pain or pulling sensations for several weeks.
If you have groin pain that lasts more than three months, then your pain is chronic. According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic groin pain following inguinal hernia repair is common and affects 15% of patients.
Your ongoing groin pain may be the result of problems with the mesh or nerve damage.
Problems with the mesh
Groin pain from mesh-related problems may occur if your body negatively reacts to the mesh, causing inflammation or irritation that leads to pain.
Though rare, chronic groin pain following an inguinal hernia repair may occur if the mesh migrates or contracts (shrinks).
Damage to the nerves
Although surgeons take great care when performing hernia repair, nerve damage is always a potential risk. Most nerve injuries heal over time.
However, if any one of the major nerves that runs through your abdomen are caught, impinged, or irritated by the mesh, you may experience ongoing groin pain.
Getting relief from your groin pain
Treatment for your post-hernia groin pain depends on how long you’ve had the pain, the severity of your symptoms, and how your groin pain affects your life.
If your pain is mild and not disruptive to your daily life, we may take a wait-and-see approach, especially if it’s only been a couple of months since your surgery. Most cases of postoperative groin pain improve on their own.
When groin pain doesn’t improve or gets worse, we may recommend other treatments to alleviate your pain, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Pain medication
- Anti-seizure medication for nerve pain (gabapentin)
- Nerve block
- Nerve ablation
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
If your surgical mesh is the cause of your chronic groin pain, surgery to remove the mesh may be the best solution.
Groin pain following hernia repair may be normal or a sign that something else is occurring. Let us help you find the problem, so we can come up with the right solution. Call our office in Dallas or McKinney, Texas, or request an appointment online today.