Do Infants and Children have Measurable Inguinal Canals?

  • Roland I Osuoji Consultant Paediatric Surgeon/Senior Lecturer Paediatric Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos
  • Michael A Bankole Paediatric Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos
Keywords: Herniotomies, inguinal canals in children


Introduction: Herniotomy is a common procedure performed by Paediatric Surgeons. However, opinions differ as to whether to open the inguinal canal when performing this procedure or not. Those who advocate performing herniotomy without opening the inguinal canal believe that in early childhood, the superficial inguinal ring is directly superimposed on the deep inguinal ring, there being no appreciable inguinal canal in this age group. Our study was planned to open the inguinal canal and simply measure the distance between the pubic tubercle medially and the inferior epigastric vessels laterally. Finding a measurable inguinal canal in all cases studies debunks the belief that the superficial inguinal ring frequently overlaps the deep inguinal ring.

Materials and Methods: From October 2007 to September 2008 and from May 2012 to April 2013 the inguinal canals of 75 children from 1 day to 2 years old were measured during herniotomies and orchidopexies. Premature babies were excluded from this study. The inguinal canals were all opened. Using a simple sterilized metallic ruler, the distance between the ipsilateral inferior epigastric vessels and the ipsilateral pubic tubercle was measured.

Results: The lengths of the inguinal canals ranged from 1cm to 4.5 cm (mean 2.88cm+/-.71cm SD). The shortest inguinal canal length was 1 cm while the longest inguinal canal was 4.5 cm.

Conclusion: Children with inguinal hernia up to the age of 2 years have a measurable inguinal canal and we suggest the excision of the hearnial sac superficial to the external inguinal ring runs the risk of leaving substantial sac behind proximal to the transfixing suture, even when some traction is applied to the sac before applying the transfixing suture.


J. Nepal Paediatr. Soc. 2013;33(3):182-185


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How to Cite
Osuoji, R., & Bankole, M. (2013). Do Infants and Children have Measurable Inguinal Canals?. Journal of Nepal Paediatric Society, 33(3), 182-185.
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