Background: Obturator hernia (OH), a rare cause of acute small bowel obstruction, requires immediate surgical intervention to prevent serious complications and mortality. We assessed the safety and efficacy of laparoscopic surgery in patients with incarcerated OH presenting with acute abdomen in an emergency setting.
Methods: Data pertaining to patients diagnosed with incarcerated OH between 2011 and April 2015 at our hospital were reviewed. Patients' characteristics, operation details and postoperative outcomes were retrospectively analyzed.
Results: All ten patients diagnosed with incarcerated obturator hernia during the reference period were females (average age 72.1 ± 11.8 years; average weight 44.1 ± 6.9 kg; average body mass index 17.8 ± 2.1 kg/m2; average operating time 63 ± 15 min; average hospital stay 6.2 ± 6.6 days). Twelve occult hernias, including six contralateral OHs, two ipsilateral femoral hernias and two bilateral femoral hernias were detected in six patients (60 %), which were simultaneously repaired after laparoscopic exploration. Nine patients (90 %) were successfully treated with synthetic mesh by laparoscopic technique. Only one case required intraoperative conversion to open surgery due to strangulated intestine with perforation. Wound infection was reported in one patient who had undergone bowel resection, but with an eventual complete recovery. Postoperative period was uneventful in the other nine patients. No recurrence or complications were reported on follow-up (mean duration of follow-up: 6-54 months).
Conclusion: In this study, laparoscopic technique was associated with a reduced duration of hospital stay and fewer complications. In addition to being a safe and minimally invasive strategy, it allowed for simultaneous diagnosis and treatment of occult hernias during the same procedure. The approach may be a better option for the treatment of incarcerated OH and occult hernias in selected patients.
Keywords: Intraoperative conversion; Invasive strategy; Laparoscopic repair; Obturator hernia; Occult hernias.