"The disease which makes the subject of the following tract, is one in which mankind are, on many acounts, much interested. No age, sex, rank, or condition of life, is exempted from it; the rich, the poor, the lazy,and the laborious, are equally liable to it; it produces certain inconvenience to all who are afflicted by it...
It sometimes puts the life of the patient in such hazard, as to require one of the most delicate operations in surgery; and it has in all times, from the most ancient down to the present, rendered those who labor under it subject to the most iniquitous frauds and impositions."
Incarcerated Hernia: Non-reducible. The contents of the hernia cannot be returned to its normal location.
Strangulated Hernia: The hernia contents, usually intestine, become gangrenous. This complication may have a 12-13% mortality, and will require removal of a portion of intestine.
Incidence: Groin hernias are found in 5% of male population, and represents 86% of hernia cases. It occurs 5 times more often in males and females.
Right sided hernias are more frequent than left sided ones.
Hasselbach's Triangle is defined as follows:
Laterally: The Inferior Epigastrics artery and vein
Medially: The Rectus Sheath
Inferiorly: The Inguinal Ligament
Posteriorly: Transversalis Fascia
Hernias medial to the epigastric vessels that enter te inguinal canal via Hasselbach's Triangle are Direct Hernias. Hernias that enter the canal via the internal (deep) inguinal ring, are indirect hernias.
Direct Inguinal Hernia
Incidence: 25% of hernia cases
The hernia contents enter the inguinal canal directly via a gap or defect in transversalis fascia, the floor of Hasselbach's Triangle.
These hernias are generally considered to be acquired, and may be associated with heavy lifting, straining due to constipation, coughing, or prostatic enlargement.
Definition: Simultaneous Right and Left Inguinal Hernia
Common in children and elderly men
If a left inguinal hernia is preesnt, there is a 25% risk of an occult right inguinal hernia
Both hernias may be repaired with one surgical procedure
Posterior wall of sac is a viscous. Seen in 3% of hernia procedures. Great care must be taken to avoid visceral damage during the repair.
Direct and indirect hernias co-existing on same side
Etiology for some recurrences.May be best approached by ligating the inferior epogastric vessels to convert the direct and indirect components to a single sac (Hoquet maneuver)
Antimesenteric boarder only of the small intestine is incarcerated in the deep inguinal ring, therefore intestinal obstruction may be absent, but gangrene of the bowel wall may occur.
All hernias should be surgically corrected to remove the risk of incarceration and strangulation. If there are compelling co-morbid medical conditions that preclude surgery, then a truss, or support hernia belt may be employed. A truss does not repair the hernia defect, but will afford some relief of symptoms.
Modern methods of repair include open primary closure of the defect with sutures (Shouldice or "Canadian" Repair, Bassini Repair); patch closure with prosthetic materials (Polypropylene or Gortex) tension-free (Lichtenstein-type) and laparoscopic repair.
The Tension-Free Hernioplasty technique involves suturing permanent polypropylene mesh to strong tissues in the groin to close the gap in the inguinal canal. Anatomically, the mesh is inserted in the pre-peritoneal space, to afford the strongest mechanical advantage.
Any foreign body inserted into human tissues may be rejected, or become infected. The mesh is soaked in an antibiotic solution prior to implantation, and prophylactic antibiotics are administered intravenously to reduce the risk of infection.
After surgery, patients are fully ambulatory, and the sole restriction is to avoid very heavy lifting for 30 days. Modern, water-proof dressings allow the patient to bathe. A prescription for pain medication is given, and patients are encouraged to gradually return to full activities as tolerated.
Properitoneal Space Exposed by Opening Transversalis Fascia
Mesh Anchored at Pubis (near retractor)
"Wings" of Mesh Posterior to Cord
(Re-Enforcing Internal Ring)
Completed Tension-free Repair
A primary repair of the hernia defect with 4 overlapping layers of tissue. Developed by a Canadian surgeon during WWII, E. E. Shouldice's hernia repair is widely used as a non-mesh technique. Two continuous back-and-forth sutures of permanent suture material are employed. The closure can be under tension, leading to swelling and patient discomfort.
Acquired in adults with cirrhosis, obesity, ascites, malnutrition
- Mayo "vest-over-pants"
- Primary mass closure
Current trends in repair include mesh implantation into the properitoneal space to obtain a tension-free closure of the umbilical ring and remain extra-peritoneal. This is my personal choice for repair of umbilical hernias greater then 2 cm in diameter