BACKGROUND: Preemptive analgesia is an antinociceptive treatment that prevents the establishment of central sensitization, which amplifies the postoperative pain. In this study, we investigated the preemptive effect of local infiltration of bupivacaine on postoperative pain after inguinal herniorrhaphy. METHODS: Thirty adult patients scheduled for inguinal herniorrhaphy were randomly assigned to one of two groups. 0.25% bupivacaine 20 ml was infiltrated in the surgical wound site either 15 min before skin incision or immediately after skin closure. Postoperatively, visual analogue scale (VAS) at rest and movement were assessed. Also the time to the first request for postoperative analgesic and the total dose of postoperative analgesics were assessed. In addition, the number of patients who didn't require any analgesics during the postoperative period were assessed. RESULTS: The VAS at rest and movement was not significantly different between the two groups. The time to the first request for postoperative analgesic, the total dose of supplemental analgesics and the number of patients who didn't require any analgesics were not significantly different. CONCLUSIONS: In pain after inguinal herniorrhaphy, we could not demonstrate the pre-emptive analgesic effect of preincisional bupivacaine infiltration. Traction pain after inguinal herniorrhaphy was sustained during the study period and this kind of pain was not inhibited (or prevented) by local infiltration of bupivacaine.