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Afr J Paediatr Surg. 2012 Sep-Dec;9(3):227-30. doi: 10.4103/0189-6725.104725.

Complicated childhood inguinal hernias in UITH, Ilorin.

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Department of Surgery, Paediatric Surgery Unit, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria.



Complicated inguinal hernias pose a threat to the life of the child as well as increase the morbidity associated with management of an otherwise straightforward condition. The aim of this study was to determine the presentation, treatment and management outcome of complicated inguinal hernias in children.


A retrospective study of all children 15 years and less managed for complicated inguinal hernia between 2002 and 2010. Data obtained included demographic characteristics, presentation, operative findings and outcome.


Complicated hernia rate was 13.9%.There were 41 children, 38 boys (92.7%) and 3 girls. Ages ranged between 4 days and 15 years (Median = 90days). Most were infants (48.8%, n = 20) and neonates accounted for 19.5% (n = 8). Median duration of symptoms prior to presentation was 18 h (range = 2-96 h). Seven patients had been scheduled for elective surgery. Hernia was right sided in 68.3% (n = 28). Symptoms included vomiting (68.3%), abdominal distension (34.1%) and constipation (4.9%); one patient presented with seizures. In 19 (46.3%) patients hernia was reducible while 22(53.7%) had emergency surgery. Associated anomalies included undescended testis (12.2%), umbilical hernia (14.6%). Intestinal resection rate was 7.3% and testicular gangrene occurred in 14.6%. Mean duration of surgery was 60.3 ± 26.7 min. Wound infection occurred in six patients (14.6%). Overall complication rate was 24.4%, 30% in infants. The mortality rate was 2.4% (n = 1).


Morbidity associated with complicated inguinal hernia is high in neonates and infants. Delayed presentation is common in our setting. Educating the parents as well as primary care physicians on the need for early presentation is necessary.

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