Incidence of contralateral occult inguinal hernia found at the time of laparoscopic trans-abdominal pre-peritoneal (TAPP) repair

Hernia. 2010 Aug;14(4):345-9. doi: 10.1007/s10029-010-0651-6. Epub 2010 Apr 1.


Background: Trans-abdominal laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair allows rapid assessment and exploration of the contralateral groin and repair of an occult hernia. Although previous studies have shown that the totally extra-peritoneal (TEP) hernia repair can be used to assess the contralateral groin, there is little data pertaining to the trans-abdominal pre-peritoneal (TAPP) approach. The aim of this study was to document the incidence of occult contralateral hernia at the time of TAPP hernia repair.

Methods: Data were collected prospectively from all patients undergoing laparoscopic TAPP hernia repair in a District General Hospital over a three-year period. Two specialist laparoscopic/upper gastrointestinal surgeons undertook all of the operations and telephone follow-up was carried out by a dedicated laparoscopic specialist nurse.

Results: A total of 310 patients underwent hernia surgery. Four cases were excluded, leaving 306 patients in the study. The male:female ratio was 10.5:1, with a median age of 59 years. Two hundred and six (67%) patients were booked for a unilateral hernia repair; of these, a contralateral hernia was found and repaired in 45 (22%). In 76 cases where a bilateral repair was planned, 61 (80%) went on to have both groin defects repaired. In the remaining 20%, the clinical suspicion of bilateral hernia was revised at the time of surgery to unilateral only. Twenty (7%) patients were booked to undergo a unilateral repair with the possibility of a contralateral hernia--in this group, the suspected contralateral defect was confirmed in 6 (30%) cases. Four (1%) cases were booked as femoral repairs, one of which was found to be an inguinal hernia. The clinical diagnostic accuracy was 78%.

Conclusion: Accurate incidence figures of an occult contralateral inguinal hernia will enhance the pre-operative information given to patients and may impact on resource allocation and planning theatre logistics. Finding and repairing an occult contralateral hernia at the time of TAPP has the distinct advantage that it saves the patient from further symptoms and from another operation with its associated potential morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hernia, Femoral / diagnosis
  • Hernia, Femoral / epidemiology*
  • Hernia, Femoral / surgery*
  • Hernia, Inguinal / diagnosis
  • Hernia, Inguinal / epidemiology*
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Laparoscopy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies