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Characteristics of groin hernia repair in patients without a groin hernia: a nationwide cohort study



Sports hernia is a condition with longstanding groin pain without an obvious pathology. Even though no hernia is present, some of these patients have a groin hernia repair to relieve the pain. The aim of this study was to establish an overview of patient characteristics and surgical techniques in patients that have a groin hernia repair without a hernia present.


This cohort study is based on nationwide data on hernia repairs from the Danish Hernia Database. Patients having a primary groin hernia repair without having a hernia between 1998 and 2011 were included and followed for minimum 4 years. We evaluated patient characteristics, type of surgery, and re-operation rates for laparoscopic and open surgeries.


Groin hernia repairs were performed in 1,028 groins where no hernia was present. The median follow-up after primary surgery was 11 years (range 4–17). Men represented 78% of the patients, and the mean age was 50 years (standard deviation 16.4). The most frequent type of surgery was the open Lichtenstein repair. The overall re-operation rate was 7% and this was evenly distributed across the different types of primary surgeries with no difference in neither the crude nor the cumulated re-operation rates. During re-operation, a groin hernia was found in 88% of the repairs.


Groin hernia repairs in groins without a hernia are performed at all ages and with the typical patient being a middle-aged man receiving an open mesh repair.

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Author information

Correspondence to S. Gamborg.

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Conflict of interest

Mr. Rosenberg reports personal fees from C.R. Bard, Inc. and Merck and Co. outside the submitted work. Ms. Gamborg and Ms. Öberg have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the Danish Protection Agency (journal-number: VD-2018-258). No ethical approval were needed according to danish law.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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For this study, formal consent was not required.

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Gamborg, S., Öberg, S. & Rosenberg, J. Characteristics of groin hernia repair in patients without a groin hernia: a nationwide cohort study. Hernia 24, 115–120 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10029-019-01967-z

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  • Sports hernia
  • Inguinal hernia repair
  • Laparoscopic repair
  • Open repair
  • Re-operations