Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 1460–1464 | Cite as

A new accurate method of physical examination for differentiation of inguinal hernia types

  • Wouter G. TrompEmail author
  • Baukje van den Heuvel
  • Boudewijn J. Dwars



It is generally stated that preoperative differentiation between indirect and direct inguinal hernias by physical examination is inaccurate and irrelevant. With the expansion of the laparoscopic technique, new relevance has emerged. Laparoscopic correction of an indirect hernia is more challenging and time consuming than laparoscopic correction of a direct hernia. Preoperative knowledge concerning the type of hernia informs the laparoscopic surgeon about the required expertise and the expected operative time, and this knowledge is useful for training programs and management. The authors therefore developed a new accurate and easy method of physical examination to differentiate types of inguinal hernia. A prospective study was conducted to determine the accuracy of this new method that combines physical examination with a hand-held Doppler device (not ultrasound) to differentiate types of inguinal hernia.


This prospective diagnostics study consisted of two consecutive parts. Each part included 100 consecutive patients presenting with an inguinal hernia. The inguinal occlusion test was used to differentiate the types of inguinal hernia during physical examination in the first part of the study. A hand-held Doppler device was used for adequate localization of the epigastric vessels in addition to the occlusion test in the second part of the study. Preoperative remarks were compared with findings during laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair. The McNemar symmetry χ 2 test was used for statistical evaluation


The first part of the study showed a preoperative accuracy of 35 % for direct inguinal hernias and 86 % for indirect inguinal hernias (p < 0.001). The second part of the study showed a preoperative accuracy of 79 % for direct inguinal hernias and 93 % for indirect inguinal hernias (p < 0.001)


The inguinal occlusion test combined with the use of a handheld Doppler device is accurate in distinguishing direct and indirect inguinal hernias and provides useful management information in laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair.


Inguinal hernia Physical examination New method Differentiation Doppler Accurate 



Wouter G. Tromp, Baukje van den Heuvel, and Boudewijn J. Dwars have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wouter G. Tromp
    • 1
    Email author
  • Baukje van den Heuvel
    • 2
  • Boudewijn J. Dwars
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgerySlotervaarthospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryVU Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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