Inguinal hernias in premature neonates: Exploring optimal timing for repair

Document Type



Paediatric Surgery


Purpose: Inguinal hernias have been reported in as many as 10-30% premature neonates, making inguinal herniorrhaphy (IHR) one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. The timing of surgery remains controversial. The purpose of this report is to compare outcomes of IHR while in the NICU (inpatient) versus repair following discharge (outpatient) to determine optimal timing.
Methods: Premature neonates having undergone IHR over a 5-year period were identified and a retrospective case cohort analysis was performed.
Results: 263 patients underwent IHR during the 5-year study period with 115 (43.7%) having surgical repair inpatient (IP; prior to discharge) and 148 having outpatient herniorrhaphy (OP). Patients with IHR performed IP had significantly lower birth weight (p < 0.001), gestational age (p < 0.001), longer duration of surgery (p = 0.01) and were more likely to have post-operative ventilator dependence following repair; however, there were no differences in the rate of recurrence (p = 0.44) and incarceration (p = 0.45).
Conclusion: Our study demonstrated no significant differences in the rates of incarceration or recurrence, following in- or out-patient IHR. These findings suggest that IHR can potentially be offered as an outpatient procedure following hospital discharge in appropriate patients. The optimal timing of IHR in premature infants remains elusive and will likely require additional multicenter investigation.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Pediatric Surgery International