Obturator hernia: A diagnostic challenge

Int J Surg Case Rep. 2013;4(7):606-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2013.02.023. Epub 2013 Apr 17.


Introduction: Obturator hernia is an extremely rare type of hernia with relatively high mortality and morbidity. Its early diagnosis is challenging since the signs and symptoms are non specific.

Presentation of case: Here in we present a case of 70 years old women who presented with complaints of intermittent colicky abdominal pain and vomiting. Plain radiograph of abdomen showed acute dilatation of stomach. Ultrasonography showed small bowel obstruction at the mid ileal level with evidence of coiled loops of ileum in pelvis. On exploration, Right Obstructed Obturator hernia was found. The obstructed Intestine was reduced and resected and the obturator foramen was closed with simple sutures. Postoperative period was uneventful.

Discussion: Obturator hernia is a rare pelvic hernia and poses a diagnostic challenge. Obturator hernia occurs when there is protrusion of intra-abdominal contents through the obturator foramen in the pelvis. The signs and symptoms are non specific and generally the diagnosis is made during exploration for the intestinal obstruction, one of the four cardinal features. Others are pain on the medial aspect of thigh called as Howship Rombergs sign, repeated attacks of Intestinal Obstruction and palpable mass on the medial aspect of thigh.

Conclusion: Obturator hernia is a rare but significant cause of intestinal obstruction especially in emaciated elderly woman and a diagnostic challenge for the Doctors. CT scan is valuable to establish preoperative diagnosis. Surgery either open or laproscopic, is the only treatment. The need for the awareness is stressed and CT scan can be helpful.