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Hernia. 2014 Jun;18(3):387-92. doi: 10.1007/s10029-013-1169-5. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

Surgical morbidity and mortality in obturator hernia: a 10-year retrospective risk factor evaluation.

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Department of Surgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


Obturator hernia is a rare condition occurring predominantly in elderly, thin, female patients and causes significant morbidity and mortality. Due to obscure presenting symptoms and signs, diagnosis and management are often delayed. While previous studies have attributed the high mortality to the delay in diagnosis, current literature remains controversial about this issue. The aim of this study was to identify peri-operative risk factors associated with mortality in patients with obturator hernia at our hospital.


We retrospectively reviewed our series of 20 consecutive patients who underwent surgical repair of 21 obturator herniae and examined their clinical characteristics and post-operative outcomes.


Overall mortality rate was 47.6 %. Survivors did not differ from non-survivors in terms of basic demographics and operative parameters (operative time, blood loss and the need for intestinal resection). The use of computed tomography for pre-operative diagnosis was associated with reduced need for bowel resection, but did not result in shorter time to operation or improved morbidity and mortality. Our series demonstrated that early timing of surgery alone did not improve operative outcome. The absence of bowel motion and a high serum urea level at the time of operation were independent factors for mortality.


Obturator hernia remains a highly lethal surgical emergency. Adequate peri-operative resuscitation may be the key to further improvement in surgical outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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