Background: Inguinal nerve identification during open inguinal hernia repair is associated with less chronic postoperative pain.However,most Dutch surgeons do not identify all three inguinal nerves when carrying out this procedure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a nerve-recognizing Lichtenstein hernia repair and to measure the extra time required for surgery Methods: Forty patients with primary inguinal hernia were operated on following the nerve-recognizing Lichtenstein hernia repair by four experienced hernia surgeons from four different Dutch teaching hospitals. The additional time needed to identify each individual nerve was recorded, and iatrogenic nerve injuries and anatomical characteristics were registered. Results: Identification of the iliohypogastric and ilioinguinal nerves was each performed within 1 min. Identification of the genital branch of the genitofemoral nerve was notably more difficult but could usually be performed within 2 min. Identification of the cremasteric vein, running parallel to the genital branch, was less comprehensive. The incidence of major anatomical variations was low. Twenty-five per cent of ilioinguinal nerves, however, could not be identified. In five patients inguinal nerves were damaged iatrogenically during standard manoeuvres of the Lichtenstein hernia repair. Conclusion: Three-nerve-recognizing Lichtenstein hernia repair is feasible and non-time consuming if the surgeon has appropriate anatomical knowledge. In view of the low incidence of major anatomical variations, knowledge of standard inguinal nervous anatomy should be adequate. This procedure could enable the surgeon to prevent or recognize iatrogenic nerve damage and offer an opportunity to perform deliberate neurectomy as an alternative to accidental nerve injury. Copyright

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Journal British Journal of Surgery
Lange, J.F, Wijsmuller, A.R, van Geldere, D, Simons, M.P, Swart, R, Oomen, J.A.F, … Jeekel, J. (2009). Feasibility study of three-nerve-recognizing Lichtenstein procedure for inguinal hernia. British Journal of Surgery, 96(10), 1210–1214. doi:10.1002/bjs.6698