Pain after surgery worse with age

Pain after surgery to repair hernia was less intense for younger patients undergoing the procedure, according to an article in the June issue of The Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Hernia is a general term used to describe the protrusion of an organ through the muscle or structure that holds it in place. Often, hernia refers to the protrusion of the intestines through a muscle in the groin area.

Fumihiko Fujita, M.D., from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and colleagues collected information on pain from 253 patients (239 men, average age 59 years) undergoing either laparoscopic hernia repair (n=110) or open, non-laparoscopic hernia repair (n=143). Pain information was collected from patients one day, and one week after their surgeries. All participants were seen by a single surgical group between May 1998 and April 2003. Laparoscopic patients were significantly younger (52 vs. 63.8 years).

The researchers found that satisfaction was high for both procedures, and the laparoscopic procedure was superior only in that patients were able to return to work sooner. Analysis showed a significant inverse association between age and amount of pain on the first day after surgery, regardless of the type of surgery used to repair the hernia.

“Pain following hernia repair was age dependent,” the researchers write. “Following laparoscopic repair, patients had lower first-day pain scores in younger patients and earlier return to normal activities in all patients. Satisfaction was similar for both approaches.”,


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