search for


Indirect Inguinal Hernia in Pediatric Patients
JKAPS 2010 Dec;16(2):101-7
Published online December 31, 2010
Copyright © 2010 Korean Association of Pediatric Surgeons.

Sang Young Chung, M.D.

Department of Pediatric Surgery, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea
Received December 29, 2010; Accepted December 29, 2010.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Herniorrhaphy of Indirect inguinal hernia (IIH) is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in children. The overall incidence of inguinal hernias in childhood ranges from 0.8 to 4.4 %. The incidence is up to 10 times higher in boys than girls, especially much higher in premature infants. IIHs in children are basically an arrest of embryologic development rather than an acquired weakness, which explains the increased incidence in premature infants. In normal development, the processus vaginalis closes, obliterating the peritoneal opening of the internal ring between 36th and 40th week of gestation. This process is often incomplete, leaving a small patent processus in many newborns. However, closure continues postnatally, and the rate of patency is inversely proportional to age of the child. The presence of a patent processus vaginalis is a necessary but not sufficient variable in developing a congenital IIH. In other words, all congenital IIHs are preceded by a patent processus vaginalis, but not all patent processus vaginalis go on to become IIHs. The overall incidence of IIH in population is approximately 1 to 2 % and the incidence of a processus vaginalis is approximately 12 to 14%, clinically appreciable IIH should develop in approximately 8 to 12 % of patients with a patent processus vaginalis. Although the classic open inguinal hernia repair remains the gold standard for most pediatric surgeons, laparoscopic repair is being performed in many centers. Like open technique, laparoscopic technique is fundamentally a high ligation of the indirect hernia sac with or without internal ring ligation. The advantages of laparoscopic approach include the ease of examining the contralateral internal ring, the avoidance of access damage to vas and vessels during mobilization of cord, decreased operative time, and an ability to identify unsuspected direct or femoral hernias.

Almost all groin hernias in children are IIHs and occur as a result of incomplete closure of processus vaginalis. The treatment is repair by high ligation of hernia sac, which can be done by an open or laparoscopic technique. The contralateral side can be explored by laparoscopy or left alone, open exploration is no longer indicated due to potential risk of infertility.


June 2018, 24 (1)