What causes pediatric hernias?

Updated: Oct 31, 2018
  • Author: Andre Hebra, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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The cause of inguinal hernia in children can be termed an abnormality of embryologic development of the fetus. However, some children may present with an acquired form of inguinal hernia, also called a direct inguinal hernia. In this type of hernia, weakness of the inguinal floor is present, which allows for protrusion of viscera from the abdominal cavity. The hernia sac is composed of the peritoneal fold that contains the hernia.

Anatomically speaking, indirect and direct inguinal hernias differ in that the direct hernia bulges through the inguinal floor medial to the inferior epigastric vessels and the indirect hernia arises lateral to the inferior epigastric vessels. Either hernia may cause fullness or a palpable bulge in the inguinal region, and distinguishing between the two types on the basis of physical examination findings may be difficult. The clinician may assume, until proven otherwise, that the pediatric patient with an inguinal hernia has indirect inguinal hernia.

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