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19.04.2019 | Original Article

Ultrasound detection and closure of contralateral patent processus vaginalis in pediatric patients with unilateral inguinal hernia and hydrocele: a longitudinal study to prove efficacy in avoiding contralateral hernia development

P. K. F. Yip
Wichtige Hinweise

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Open herniotomy has been the gold standard of pediatric hernia treatment with the advantages of simplicity in surgical technique, fast post operative recovery, and minimal recurrence rate, but its inability to prevent hernia development from a contralateral patent processus vaginalis (PPV) after a unilateral herniotomy is its major drawback. By contrast, laparoscopic hernia repair has the advantage of contralateral internal ring inspection, and, therefore, has become popular in recent years, although open herniotomy is still the favorable surgical technique among many surgeons. A simple and reliable tool to detect contralateral PPV will be valuable to surgeons who practice conventional open hernia surgery on children, although ultrasound has been applied for this purpose, but there is no long-term data to support such application.


The author performed a preoperative ultrasound on the contralateral groins of children undergoing unilateral herniotomy or PPV ligation. If the ultrasound showed no evidence of contralateral PPV, no contralateral surgery was performed. Those patients were then followed up after a long period of time to see whether contralateral hernia or hydrocele was developed or not.


322 pediatric patients were studied from 2006 to 2012. In 96 of the cases (30%), contralateral PPV were identified with ultrasound, and 95% of which were affirmed intraoperatively. In the remaining 226 patients who were without evidence of contralateral PPV, only unilateral surgeries were offered. One of these patients later developed contralateral hernia and required another surgery. The remaining patients were phoned up after a median period of 9 years. 114 of them could be contacted and none of them had developed contralateral hernia or hydrocele.


Ultrasound groin is a valuable tool as an adjunct in pediatric hernia management by detecting contralateral PPV with high accuracy. Surgeon can offer unilateral or bilateral hernia surgery according to the ultrasound finding, and the incidence of contralateral hernia development is negligible. Preoperative ultrasound groin with selective contralateral PPV closure in children can be an alternative to routine laparoscopic hernia repair in avoiding contralateral hernia or hydrocele development.

Level of evidence

Level 3.

Type of study

Retrospective study.

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