A review of obturator hernia and a proposed algorithm for its diagnosis and treatment

World J Surg. 2005 Apr;29(4):450-4; discussion 454. doi: 10.1007/s00268-004-7664-1.


The aim of this article is to provide a review of six patients with the various stages of obturator hernia and a diagnostic and therapeutic strategy in suspected cases. Obturator hernia is relatively rare and is a diagnostic challenge. It is a significant cause of intestinal obstruction, especially in emaciated elderly women with chronic disease. A palpable groin mass is not common in these patients because the hernia mass is usually concealed beneath the pectineus muscle. The high mortality is directly related to the delayed recognition, with resultant ruptured gangrenous bowel, and to the high incidence of patients with concurrent medical illness. A total of six patients with obturator hernias were treated at this hospital between 1994 and 2004, and one of these patients was diagnosed and treated by elective laparoscopy. We reviewed these six cases and examined the clinical presentation, age, body weight, associated medical conditions, preoperative diagnosis, operative findings, complications, and outcome in this retrospective study. We concluded that we cannot shorten the time from onset of symptoms to admission, but what we can do is to make a rapid evaluation and surgical intervention to reduce the morbidity and mortality from obturator hernia. The approaches to different presentation of obturator hernia and diagnostic role of CT scan are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Hernia, Obturator / diagnosis*
  • Hernia, Obturator / diagnostic imaging
  • Hernia, Obturator / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome