Sixteen premature infants were operated on during the two-year period from 1981 through 1982 for inguinal hernia prior to discharge from the hospital. There were no complications from the hernias before surgery and during administration of anesthesia and postoperative recovery, and no recurrences, would infections, or testicular atrophy was noted in long-term follow-up. In contrast to a controlled group of 11 full-term patients of this same age who were operated on as outpatients, the operating room time, operation time, and time in the recovery room were significantly increased for the premature infants. This resulted in a 22% increase in cost for the correction of the premature inguinal hernias. Analysis of the factors in repair of these hernias indicates that this increased cost will have to be accepted as part of the care of premature infants in neonatal intensive care units.