Background: The purpose was to explore which postoperative outcomes are important to patients operated for inguinal hernia to gain a better insight into the patient experience going through surgery.
Methods: A qualitative study was performed using semistructured individual interviews. Participants were all male and had undergone inguinal hernia repair. Data were analyzed with directed content analysis.
Results: Ten patients were interviewed. Identified domains were function, sensation, expectations, appearance, social aspects, and satisfaction with surgeon/staff. Preoperative functional limitations were the main motivation for seeking surgery, and postoperative functional improvement seemed to be the most important factor determining overall patient satisfaction.
Conclusion: Patients consider a wide range of factors when assessing the outcome of their inguinal hernia repair. Our results suggest that the current practice of outcome assessment of inguinal hernia repair with focus on recurrence may be too narrow and may not adequately reflect the patients' experience.
Summary: This qualitative study explored patients' perspectives on postoperative outcome after inguinal hernia repair, and the identified domains of importance were function, sensation, expectations, appearance, social aspects, and satisfaction with surgeon/staff. These results highlight that patients emphasize a wide range of elements when assessing the outcome of their inguinal hernia repair that are important to acknowledge, as current practice of outcome assessment of inguinal hernia repair may be too narrow.