Contralateral groin exploration is not justified in infants with a unilateral inguinal hernia
Background Contralateral groin exploration in children with unilateral inguinal hernia is still controversial, particularly in infants. The patency rate of processus vaginalis is highest in infants but there are few data on the subsequent risk of contralateral hernia development in infants. In this retrospective study, we aimed to find out the incidence of contralateral inguinal hernia following unilateral inguinal herniotomy in infants aged less than one year.
Methods All infants who underwent a unilateral inguinal herniotomy between January 1990 and December 1998 were studied retrospectively. Infants with bilateral hernia (n=7) were excluded from the study.
Results One hundred and one infants (93 boys and 8 girls) were studied. Median age at operation was 23 (range 2–52) weeks. The herniotomy was right-sided in 75% of the infants. Follow-up ranged from three and a half years to 11 years. A contralateral hernia developed in nine infants (9.0%). One of the initial hernias was incarcerated. Median time from operation to occurrence of contralateral hernia was 18 (range 2–60) months. None of the contralateral hernia was incarcerated. Age, sex, incarceration and side of initial hernia did not influence the development of contralateral hernia.
Conclusion The low incidence and benign nature of contralateral hernia development in infants undergoing a unilateral inguinal herniotomy does not justify routine contralateral groin exploration.
KeywordsInguinal Hernia Hydrocele Bilateral Hernia Contralateral Hernia Contralateral Exploration
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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