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J Gastrointest Surg. 2007 Oct;11(10):1368-72. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

Review article: appendicitis in groin hernias.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT 06880, USA.


To review the clinical presentation, outcome and causes of acute appendicitis presenting within a groin hernia. A comprehensive review of the past 70 years of English language surgical literature was conducted pertaining to acute appendicitis presenting within an inguinal or femoral hernia. Thirty-four reports describing 45 patients were reviewed to determine age, position, gender, pathologic stage at presentation, causal suppositions, and clinical outcomes. Hernial appendicitis presented as an inguinal abscess or a tender inguinal mass, often in the femoral position, and most commonly at the extremes of age. It was almost never recognized preoperatively, and, because of the sequestered nature of the inflammatory process, presented with few classic systemic signs or symptoms suggestive of acute appendicitis. Advanced pathologic stage and death correlated with the patient's age, delay in presentation, and delay in recognition. Evaluation of an inguinal abscess or a nonreducible tender groin hernia presenting in a patient at the extremes of age, should include computed tomography to rule out an occult acute appendicitis within the hernia, as systemic signs and symptoms of appendicitis are rarely evident. The condition appears to be caused by inflammatory adhesions caused by appendicitis occurring within an enlarged hernial orifice rather than appendicitis caused by external compression of the appendix base. Early recognition of this unique presentation of appendicitis allows trans-hernial appendectomy and immediate herniorraphy. Delayed diagnosis requires drainage of abscess with appendectomy and interval hernia repair.

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