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chronic pain after inguinal hernia repair with mesh

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  • chronic pain after inguinal hernia repair with mesh

    I had a laparoscopic repair in August with a polyester self-gripping mesh for an inguinal hernia. Ever since surgery, the area where the mesh was placed is tender (similar to what your hand might feel like if there was a sliver in it) and I have a stiff bush-like feeling near my hip and pubic bones. The brush-line feeling is clearly aggravated by lifting weights. The surgeon has ruled out an infection and nerve damage. He thinks I just pushed myself too quickly in the gym after surgery and have caused the inflamation. He recommended rest and Advil. But, despite laying off of exercise and taking 600mg Advil 3x/day, I'm not seeing any improvement 4 months post operation.

    I have only two hypotheses at this point as to the cause of the pain
    (i) I have annoyed the ilioinguinal ligament (which, from what I understand, runs from the hip to the pubic bone...this would explain the stiff brush-line feeling)
    (ii) My body is chronically inflamed due to the mesh (which would explain the tenderness).

    I could see problem (i) being resolved with more time and Advil. I don't see problem (ii) ever being resolved unless the mesh is removed (I am currently looking for surgeon's who do this risky procedure).

    I am really hoping somebody here can provide some context and or ideas as to how I can proceed
    (i) Did anybody else have chronic pain after a hernia repair? If so, did your pain go away over time? Did exercise induce pain? What did you do to finally fix the problem?
    (ii) What medical options can I explore at this point? My surgeon is out of ideas. And, I don't know what other conservative measures I could take.

    I'm pretty desperate at this point. The last 4 months have been just horrible. Living life with chronic pain makes every day a struggle.

  • #2
    I'm very sorry to hear about this.

    Unfortunately I do not directly manage post-op mesh situations myself. We will leave this open in case we have any surgeons with expertise in this area.
    IG / YT

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    • #3
      Thanks very much for leaving this thread open. Hopefully, somebody will be able to chime in with some useful advice or anecdotal information. Also, thanks for your sympathy. Even though I don't know you personally, it means a lot.

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      • #4
        I have/had a similar story. Maybe you can find something useful in my thread: https://forum.barbellmedicine.com/fo...-hernia-repair

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mattlorig View Post
          Thanks very much for leaving this thread open. Hopefully, somebody will be able to chime in with some useful advice or anecdotal information. Also, thanks for your sympathy. Even though I don't know you personally, it means a lot.
          I have anecdotal information. I had two inguinal hernias one on each side and had both repaired through open surgery about six years ago. The left side was irritated on and off for a few months. The right side had some severe pain that flared up for a long time, like walking was difficult. I went back to the surgeon and after checking everything he said, if it wasn’t impeding me from doing things to try to wait it out and see what happens.

          It’s gone away and came back a few times and was most irritated when I ran the legacy Hypertrophy I template earlier this year. Squats were awful. I was constantly adjusting stance and foot position to no avail. When the reps went down so did the pain (though there may have been some acclimation here). Since then I’ve squatted higher reps with no pain. I did notice that when I dropped some body fat the pain seemed to happen less often.

          I know this may not be helpful to the OP, but the pain didn’t mean anything was wrong. And it is mostly dormant now. I’m not a doctor, but if you surgeon cleared you to go back to normal, I would work around it as best as possible (whatever exercise doesn’t irritate it) and see what it does over time.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Adam_a View Post

            I have anecdotal information. I had two inguinal hernias one on each side and had both repaired through open surgery about six years ago. The left side was irritated on and off for a few months. The right side had some severe pain that flared up for a long time, like walking was difficult. I went back to the surgeon and after checking everything he said, if it wasn’t impeding me from doing things to try to wait it out and see what happens.

            It’s gone away and came back a few times and was most irritated when I ran the legacy Hypertrophy I template earlier this year. Squats were awful. I was constantly adjusting stance and foot position to no avail. When the reps went down so did the pain (though there may have been some acclimation here). Since then I’ve squatted higher reps with no pain. I did notice that when I dropped some body fat the pain seemed to happen less often.

            I know this may not be helpful to the OP, but the pain didn’t mean anything was wrong. And it is mostly dormant now. I’m not a doctor, but if you surgeon cleared you to go back to normal, I would work around it as best as possible (whatever exercise doesn’t irritate it) and see what it does over time.
            Just trying to get a gauge as to how our situations compare...were you constantly taking Advil to make it through the day 4+ months after surgery? And, if you recall, were you able to sleep without pain?

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            • #7
              6 years on a can't say for sure. Though I keep a journal and workout logs, I stopped journalling right before the surgery on the right side (bad side) as my son was born with lots of complications. I picked the journalling habit back up a couple of years ago. Thinking back, I was in horrible pain on my right side that would go up into my stomach. Work was difficult, sex was difficult, and workouts were terrible. I had to sleep on my left side for a while as the pain was bad on my right.

              For my workouts I remember buying super light weight dumbbells, as light as one pound and I bought a parabody leg extension machine someone had to load it in the house for me. My workouts consisted of really light weight for 15-20 reps and breathing instead of valsalvas, in on eccentric out on concentric. I kept moving, thinking it was a good idea, even before BBM was around. It flairs up still, I had pain for about 6 weeks in a row around february-march this year. I have some flair ups every now and again, almost always after eating too much or I get twisted up in an MMA match, not usually lifting related.

              Go to your doc, get second opinions. If they can't find anything wrong, get a consult through BBM's pain and rehab guys. They can set you on a better path than my 1-pound dumbbell idea.

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              • #8
                Very quick update in case anybody is still following this. I dealt with pain from the mesh for 6 months and then finally decided to have the mesh removed. Getting the mesh removed was definitely the right decision. As soon as the mesh was out, many of the pains and aches I had went away. Most importantly, the stiff brush-like feeling I had at my pubic and hip bones was gone.

                While I had the mesh in me, I developed a hernia on my left side (mesh was on the right). I had that hernia repaired two weeks ago without mesh. The recovery from that operation has been fast. I am already running sprints and doing dips and chins. If I had access to a gym, I would be doing squats (but, for those who read this in the future, basically every gym in the USA is closed now due to the COVID-19 epidemic).

                TLDR; if you get a hernia do NOT have it repaired with mesh. Find a doctor that does non-mesh repairs (e.g., a Shouldice, Desarda, Bassini, or McVay repair). Despite what your surgeon may say, chronic pain from mesh is a serious and common thing.

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                • #9
                  Glad to hear you’re doing ok man, also thanks for that information. Pretty fascinating to a layman like me.

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