Transinguinal laparoscopic exploration for identification of contralateral inguinal hernias in pediatric patients

J Pediatr Surg. 2011 Dec;46(12):2349-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.09.027.


Background: The use of transinguinal laparoscopy for contralateral groin exploration during unilateral inguinal hernia repair has gained popularity. Controversy exists, however, regarding its use in older children. We report a large, single-surgeon series describing the safety and effectiveness of this procedure.

Methods: A retrospective review was completed of all cases of open inguinal hernia repair from 1997 to 2009 performed by the senior author. Patients were explored laparoscopically through the ipsilateral hernia sac to assess the contralateral groin. Exclusion criteria were an inadequate sac or preoperatively diagnosed bilateral inguinal hernia.

Results: A total of 649 children underwent open inguinal hernia repair. A preoperative diagnosis of bilateral hernia was made in 18% (n = 117), and of the 532 unilateral cases, an inadequate sac was present in 15% (n = 79). Transinguinal laparoscopic exploration was performed on the remaining 453 children. A hernia or contralateral patent processus vaginalis (CPPV) was found in 38% of children (n = 173). In children older than 8 years, 32% demonstrated a hernia or CPPV on laparoscopic exploration. No complications occurred because of laparoscopy.

Conclusion: Transinguinal laparoscopic exploration is safe and effective and should be routinely performed in pediatric patients of all ages because of the high prevalence of contralateral hernia and CPPV.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hernia, Inguinal / diagnosis*
  • Hernia, Inguinal / epidemiology
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery
  • Herniorrhaphy / methods
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inguinal Canal / pathology
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies