Anatomical basis of neuropathies and damage to the ilioinguinal nerve during repairs of groin hernias. (about 100 dissections)

Surg Radiol Anat. 2007 Dec;29(8):675-81. doi: 10.1007/s00276-007-0272-7. Epub 2007 Nov 6.


Surgical access to the inguinal region, notably during hernia repairs, exposes the ilioinguinal nerve to the risk of damage at the origin of the neuralgia. The incidence of these post-operative neuropathies and their medicolegal consequences justify this study about the anatomical variations of the ilioinguinal nerve. With the aim of preventing its damage during repairs of groin hernias and identifying the factors of onset of chronic spontaneous neuropathy of the ilioinguinal nerve, we dissected 100 inguinal regions of 51 fresh adult corpses. The nerve was absent in seven cases and double in one case. Out of the 94 ilioinguinal nerves observed, we analyzed the path in relation to the inguinal ligament and the connections with the walls of the inguinal canal and its content. The ilioinguinal nerve travels along the superficial surface of the internal oblique muscle, passing on average 1.015 cm from the inguinal ligament. In one case, the fibers of the internal oblique muscle spanned it in several places. The nerve was antero-funicular in 78.72% of cases and perforated the fascia of the external oblique in 28.72% of cases. The terminal division took place in the inguinal canal in 86% of cases, with terminal branches that sometimes perforated the fascia of the external oblique. These results enabled us to better understand the etiopathogenic aspects of certain neuropathies of the groin and to propose techniques useful for the protection of the nerve during repairs of groin hernias.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery
  • Humans
  • Inguinal Canal / innervation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries
  • Peripheral Nerves / anatomy & histology
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Round Ligament of Uterus / anatomy & histology
  • Spermatic Cord / anatomy & histology