Obturator hernia presenting as small bowel obstruction

Am J Surg. 1994 Apr;167(4):396-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-9610(94)90123-6.


Obturator hernia is a rare but important cause of small bowel obstruction that is associated with difficult diagnosis and high mortality. In the past 7 years, 16 patients with small bowel obstruction due to obturator hernia diagnosed at operation were seen at the Department of Surgery, the University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital. They represented 1% (16 of 1,554) of all hernia repair performed and 1.6% (16 of 1,000) of mechanical intestinal obstruction encountered during the same period. Elderly emaciated women with chronic disease were commonly affected. All patients presented with partial or complete mechanical small bowel obstruction. Right-sided obturator hernia outnumbered left-sided hernia, and bilateral hernia was found in only one patient. The majority of patients required resection of their strangulated small bowel. Most of the hernial orifices were closed with interrupted nonabsorbable sutures. Morbidity and mortality rates were significantly high for this group of debilitated patients with chronic disease who underwent late operation for this elusive diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Emaciation / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hernia, Obturator / complications*
  • Hernia, Obturator / epidemiology
  • Hernia, Obturator / surgery
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors