Inguinal hernia in children: Factors affecting recurrence in 62 cases

Jay L. Grosfeld, Kathryn Minnick, Frederick Shedd, Karen W. West, Frederick J. Rescorla, Dennis W. Vane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

101 Scopus citations


This report analyzes factors associated with 71 recurrent inguinal hernias in 62 children treated between 1976 and 1988. Cases were evaluated for sex, age, type of initial repair, interval to recurrence, the presence of comorbid conditions, and type of reoperation. There were 57 boys and 5 girls. Sixty percent of patients were less than 6 months old and 72% were less than 1 year of age at the time of the initial repair. Recurrence was on the right in 74%, left in 24%, and bilateral in 2%. Recurrence was noted by 6 months in 50%, by 2 years in 76%, and by 5 years in 96%. Comorbid conditions were present in 60% of cases, including increased intraabdominal pressure (ventriculoperitoneal [VP] shunts), growth failure, prematurity, chronic pulmonary disease, bladder exstrophy, connective tissue disorders, crytorchism, seizure disorder, and malnutrition. Incarceration was a factor in four of the 62 cases. Seven patients had multiple recurrences. Fifty-one recurrences were indirect, whereas 20 were direct inguinal hernias. Inadequate high ligation (three with chromic catgut), wound infection, and groin hematoma were other findings. The direct hernias may be related to injury to the floor of the canal during initial repair. Recurrent repair included high ligation of the sac alone (20), high ligation plus snugging of a large internal ring (11), and high ligation with repair of the iliopubic tract in patients with VP shunts, connective tissue disorder, or weak floor (20). All direct hernias had a Cooper's ligament (McVay) repair. Two direct hernias recurred again and were successfully repaired using a preperitoneal approach. Adequate high ligation at the internal ring, snugging of a large internal ring, avoidance of injury to the canal floor, and closure of the internal ring in girls are important operative considerations in preventing indirect hernia recurrence. Selected patients with connective tissue disorders, poor nutrition, and increased intraabdominal pressure (ascites, VP shunts) associated with weak floor tissues should undergo iliopubic tract repair to prevent recurrence. Cooper's ligament repair is usually successful in cases of direct inguinal hernia; the preperitoneal repair is advantageous in patients with multiple recurrences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-287
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991


  • Inguinal hernia
  • recurrent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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