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Risk factors for early recurrence after inguinal hernia repair

Petra Lynen Jansen1*, Uwe Klinge12, Marc Jansen1 and Karsten Junge1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, University Hospital, RWTH Aachen, Germany

2 Applied Medical Engineering, Helmholtz Institute, RWTH Aachen, Germany

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BMC Surgery 2009, 9:18  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-9-18

Published: 9 December 2009



Family history, male gender and age are significant risk factors for inguinal hernia disease. Family history provides evidence for a genetic trait and could explain early recurrence after inguinal hernia repair despite technical advance at least in a subgroup of patients. This study evaluates if age and family history can be identified as risk factors for early recurrence after primary hernia repair.


We performed an observational cohort study for 75 patients having at least two recurrent hernias. The impact of age, gender and family history on the onset of primary hernias, age at first recurrence and recurrence rates was investigated.


44% (33/75) of recurrent hernia patients had a family history and primary as well as recurrent hernias occurred significantly earlier in this group (p = 0.04). The older the patients were at onset the earlier they got a recurrent hernia. Smoking could be identified as on additional risk factor for early onset of hernia disease but not for hernia recurrence.


Our data reveal an increased incidence of family history for recurrent hernia patients when compared with primary hernia patients. Patients with a family history have their primary hernias as well as their recurrence at younger age then patients without a family history. Though recurrent hernia has to be regarded as a disease caused by multiple factors, a family history may be considered as a criterion to identify the risk for recurrence before the primary operation.