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Surgery. 2012 Jan;151(1):94-8. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2011.06.028. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Mesh hernia repair and male infertility: a retrospective register study.

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Department of Surgery, Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.



Previous studies have suggested that the use of mesh in groin hernia repair may be associated with an increased risk for male infertility as a result of inflammatory obliteration of structures in the spermatic cord. In a recent study, we could not find an increased incidence of involuntary childlessness. The aim of this study was to evaluate this issue further.


Men born between 1950 and 1989, with a hernia repair registered in the Swedish Hernia Register between 1992 and 2007 were cross-linked with all men in the same age group with the diagnosis of male infertility according to the Swedish National Patient Register. The cumulative and expected incidences of infertility were analyzed. Separate multivariate logistic analyses, adjusted for age and years elapsed since the first repair, were performed for men with unilateral and bilateral repair, respectively.


Overall, 34,267 men were identified with a history of at least 1 inguinal hernia repair. A total of 233 (0.7%) of these had been given the diagnosis of male infertility after their first operation. We did not find any differences between expected and observed cumulative incidences of infertility in men operated with hernia repair. Men with bilateral hernia repair had a slightly increased risk for infertility when mesh was used on either side. However, the cumulative incidence was less than 1%.


Inguinal hernia repair with mesh is not associated with an increased incidence of, or clinically important risk for, male infertility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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