Objective: The authors assessed the long-term pain relief after local nerve blocks or neurectomy in patients suffering from chronic pain because of Pfannenstiel-induced nerve entrapment.
Summary Background Data: The low transverse Pfannenstiel incision has been associated with chronic lower abdominal pain because of nerve entrapment (2%–4%). Treatment options include peripheral nerve blocks or a neurectomy of neighboring nerves. Knowledge on adequate (surgical) management is scarce.
Methods: Patients treated for iliohypogastric and/or ilioinguinal neuralgia after a Pfannenstiel incision received a questionnaire assessing current pain intensity (by 5-point verbal rating scale), complications, and overall satisfaction.
Results: Twenty-seven women with Pfannenstiel-related neuralgia were identified between 2000 and 2007. A single diagnostic nerve block provided long-term pain relief in 5 patients. Satisfaction in women undergoing neurectomy (n = 22) was good to excellent in 73%, moderate in 14%, and poor in 13% (median follow-up, 2 years). Complications were rare. Successful treatment improved intercourse-related pain in most patients. Comorbidities (endometriosis, lumbosacral radicular syndrome) and earlier pain treatment were identified as risk factors for surgical failure.
Conclusions: Peripheral nerve blocking provides long-term pain reduction in some individuals. An iliohypogastric or ilioinguinal nerve neurectomy is a safe and effective procedure in most remaining patients.