Incarcerated Inguinal Hernia Revisited


Inguinal hernia is the common surgical condition in children affecting almost 30% of premature infants. Inguinal hernia results from an incomplete obliteration of the processus vaginalis developed around the 6th month of fetal development. Most inguinal hernia in children are indirect. Incarcerated inguinal hernia is a common and serious emergent situation in pediatric patients. The risk of incarceration in children with inguinal hernia fluctuates between 3 and 16% with the highest incidence of 30% in premature. The rate of inguinal hernia strangulation is also higher in prematurely born infants.  The median age of presentation of inguinal hernia is two years. Incarcerated inguinal hernia occurs in 12% of all cases at a mean age of 1.5 years, mostly in boys and mostly on the right side. Due to the significant incidence of incarceration of inguinal hernia, once diagnosed inguinal hernias in children should be repair within the next two weeks. The management of incarcerated inguinal hernia is manual reduction which is successful in most cases, followed by open repair of the hernia in the next 48-72 hours once the edema of the cord has subsided. The procedure can also be done laparoscopically. The advantage of laparoscopic incarcerated inguinal hernia repair include excellent visual exposure, reduction of the incarcerated viscera and inspection for gangrene, immediate repair of the defect, the ability to evaluate the contralateral side, minimal dissection and avoidance of access trauma to the vas deferens and the testicular vessels, iatrogenic ascent of the testis and decreased operative time specially in obese and recurrent cases. The cons are that a subcutaneous procedure is converted into a transabdominal procedure with the incidence of adhesions and later bowel obstruction development. In the case of female patients the possibility of having an incarcerated ovarian inguinal hernia is high. The use of US to determine if an ovary is incarcerated can provide evidence of flow and plan urgent surgery before torsion occurs. Both open herniotomy and laparoscopic repair offer safe surgery with comparable outcomes for incarcerated inguinal hernia in children.      

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Ultrasonographic findings and review of literature. Ann Med Surg (Lond). 9:38-40, 2016
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6- Chan YY, Durbin-Johnson B, Kurzrock EA: Pediatric inguinal and scrotal surgery - Practice patterns in U.S. academic centers. J Pediatr Surg. 51(11):1786-1790, 2016

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