Ovarian inguinal hernia

Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2020 Feb;102(2):75-83. doi: 10.1308/rcsann.2019.0137. Epub 2019 Nov 7.


Introduction: Gynaecological structures such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments and uterus are rarely encountered inside a hernial sac. The prevalence of groin hernias containing parts of female genitalia remains unknown. The aim of this review was to summarise the existing evidence on inguinal hernias containing ovaries with or without the other female adnexa.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted for literature published up to February 2018 using the MEDLINE®, Scopus® and Google Scholar™ databases along with the references of the full-text articles retrieved. Papers on observational studies and case reports concerning women who were diagnosed with an ovarian inguinal hernia (pre or intraoperatively) were considered eligible for inclusion in the review.

Results: Fifteen papers (13 case reports, 2 case series) comprising seventeen patients (mean age 47.9 years) were evaluated. A left-sided hernia was noted in 13 cases (77%) whereas 4 patients had a right-sided hernia. Eight patients underwent preoperative imaging with computed tomography, ultrasonography or both. This was diagnostic in five cases. In 11 patients, hernia contents were repositioned, 2 had a salpingo-oophorectomy and 2 an oophorectomy. Eight patients underwent hernia repair with mesh placement while three had a herniorrhaphy.

Conclusions: Ovarian inguinal hernias should be considered among the differential diagnoses of a groin mass or swelling. In women of reproductive age, repair of the hernia with the intent to preserve fertility is of critical importance.

Keywords: Fertility; Inguinal Hernia; Ovarian hernia; Ovary.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hernia, Inguinal / diagnosis
  • Hernia, Inguinal / epidemiology
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery*
  • Herniorrhaphy / instrumentation
  • Herniorrhaphy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inguinal Canal / diagnostic imaging
  • Inguinal Canal / surgery
  • Ovarian Diseases / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Diseases / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Diseases / surgery*
  • Ovariectomy*
  • Ovary / diagnostic imaging
  • Ovary / surgery
  • Prevalence
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy*
  • Surgical Mesh
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography