Obturator hernia: diagnosis and treatment in the modern era

Singapore Med J. 2009 Sep;50(9):866-70.


Introduction: Obturator hernia is a rare variety of abdominal hernia that nonetheless is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in the elderly age group. This article aimed to review the diagnosis and management of obturator hernia by describing the anatomy, clinical presentation, predisposing factors, diagnostic modalities and management in the modern era.

Methods: We managed six cases of obturator hernia between 2003 and 2006. Five out of six cases were diagnosed by a preoperative computed tomography (CT) and the sixth case was diagnosed by ultrasonography. All except one were managed by an exploratory laparotomy and repair of the hernia, and one was treated with laparoscopic repair.

Results: Correct preoperative diagnosis was made in five out of five (100 percent) patients by clinical signs and CT of the abdomen and pelvis, and the sixth patient was operated on the basis of an ultrasonographical diagnosis and strong clinical suspicion.

Conclusion: We conclude that the rapid evaluation by CT of the abdomen and pelvis and surgical intervention are possible, thereby reducing the morbidity and mortality of patients with obturator hernia. An algorithm for the management of obturator hernia is proposed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hernia, Obturator / diagnosis*
  • Hernia, Obturator / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography / methods