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J Pediatr Surg. 2006 May;41(5):980-6.

Six thousand three hundred sixty-one pediatric inguinal hernias: a 35-year review.

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Division of General Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8.



This study, by its mere size and uniformity (1 pediatric surgeon), aims to corroborate or refute the teachings and myths of the pediatric inguinal hernia.


From July 1969 to January 2004, 6361 infants and children with inguinal hernias were seen, operated on, and followed by the senior author. A retrospective survey of their charts was carried out to evaluate the demographics and clinical aspects of these patients. The hospital's research ethics board approved of this study.


The ages ranged from premature to 18 years (mean age, 3.3 years) with a male-to female ratio of 5:1. There were 59% right, 29% left, and 12% bilateral hernias (almost all indirect). Hydroceles were found in 19%. Incarceration occurred in 12%. A modified Ferguson repair was used. An opposite-side hernia developed in 5%, 95% within the first 5 years, and was not sex or age specific. There were 1.2% recurrences, 96% within 5 years. Thirteen percent had ventriculo-peritoneal shunts, 1.2% wound infections, and 0.3% testicular atrophy. There were no postoperative deaths. One percent had a documented hernia disappearance.


Three of our results have not corresponded with previous teachings and myths: (1) a hernia of a premature baby should be fixed sooner than later; (2) routine contralateral groin exploration is not indicated in any situation; and (3) teenage recurrence rate is 4 times greater than the overall series.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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