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Recurrent inguinal and femoral hernia

George A Sarosi, Jr, MD
Kfir Ben-David, MD, FACS
Section Editor
Michael Rosen, MD
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


Recurrence rates for primary hernia repair range from 0.5 to 15 percent depending upon the hernia site (direct, indirect, femoral), type of repair (mesh, no mesh, open, laparoscopic), and clinical circumstances (elective, emergent) [1-5]. Hernia recurrence is less common with repair of inguinal compared with femoral hernia repair due to the higher rates of emergency surgery and complications associated with femoral hernia [6,7].

The indications for recurrent inguinal and femoral hernia repair are similar to those of primary inguinal and femoral hernia repair. Most symptomatic patients should undergo repair; however, some minimally symptomatic male patients can be safely observed. The choice of technique for repair of recurrent inguinal hernia is largely anatomically based, depending upon the nature of the prior hernia repair. In general, failed posterior repairs (eg, laparoscopic) should be repaired using an anterior approach, and vice versa, failed anterior repairs (eg, Lichtenstein repair) should be repaired using a posterior approach [8]. Repair of recurrent inguinal hernias can be more complicated than primary inguinal hernia repair and is associated with higher rates of recurrence (ie, re-recurrence) and other complications [9,10].

Recurrent inguinal hernia will be reviewed here. The clinical features, diagnosis, and management of inguinal and femoral hernia in adults and children, and repair techniques (open, laparoscopic), are discussed elsewhere. (See "Overview of treatment for inguinal and femoral hernia in adults" and "Inguinal hernia in children" and "Open surgical repair of inguinal and femoral hernia in adults" and "Laparoscopic inguinal and femoral hernia repair in adults".)


Inguinal and femoral hernias are classified according to their etiology and anatomic site. A primary etiology for hernia is related to congenital tissue abnormalities, whereas a secondary hernia etiology is related to acquired tissue abnormalities (eg, trauma). (See "Classification, clinical features, and diagnosis of inguinal and femoral hernias in adults".)

Primary hernia repair – A primary hernia repair refers to the initial or index hernia repair. Primary hernia repair should not be confused with repair of a primary hernia (as compared with a secondary hernia), as classified by etiology.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 31, 2017.
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