Background: Patient-reported outcomes (PRO) reflect the functional outcomes of inguinal herniorrhaphy. We studied the effect of hernia recurrence and complications on PRO for participants in the Veterans Affairs trial of Open or Laparoscopic Repair of Inguinal Hernia. Methods: Analyzed PRO included (1) the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36, version 2, (2) the Surgical Pain Scale, (3) the Activities Assessment Scale, and (4) patient satisfaction. Recurrences and complications were recorded at follow-up visits. Complications were categorized by (1) hematoma/seroma, (2) orchitis, (3) neuralgia, and (4) other. Univariate and multivariable regression analyses identified variables significantly associated with postoperative PRO. Results: Of the 1603 patients with PRO data, 105 had a recurrence and 342 had a complication at 2 years. Multivariable analyses showed neuralgia (P < .0005) adversely affected all PRO, and recurrence (P < .05) affected patient-reported pain, activity, and satisfaction, but not the score for the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 3. Patients with a recurrence after open repair had more pain than those with a recurrence after laparoscopic repair (P = .0001). Patients with other complications after laparoscopic repair reported more pain and less activity than those with other complications after open repair (P = .003 and P = .009, respectively). Conclusions: The effectiveness of inguinal herniorrhaphy should be measured by the rate of recurrence and neuralgia. Postoperative neuralgias have a deleterious effect on all patient-reported outcomes.
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