Research: Fetal Inguinal Hernia: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Fetal Diagn Ther

. 2024;51(1):39-48.

 doi: 10.1159/000534374. Epub 2023 Oct 25.

Fetal Inguinal Hernia: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Gad Liberty 1Firas Shweiki 1Adriana Nica 2Eyal Y Anteby 1Sarah M Cohen 3Simcha Yagel 3

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Fetal inguinal hernia (FIH) is a rare event and only few cases were published in the medical literature. In the present study, we aimed to characterize the sonographic features, clinical presentation, management, outcomes, and differential diagnoses of FIH. Accordingly, we reviewed all 17 cases of FIH published in the medical literature, including one new case evaluated by our group. All 17 cases (100%) were male, and FIH is presented as a scrotal mass with a mean diameter of 38 ± 9.5 mm. The right side was dominant (62%). Peristalsis was reported in 80% of the cases, and blood flow was reported in two-thirds. Most cases were diagnosed in the third trimester (88%) at a mean gestational age (GA) of 33.1 ± 5.2 weeks. 60% of the cases had isolated FIH, and 40% had another sonographic or genetic abnormality. Three cases (18%) were syndromic with multiple malformations: trisomy 18, skeletal anomalies due to Jarcho-Levin syndrome, and undefined multiple joint contractures. Two cases (12%) had copathologies in the gastrointestinal tract: one had an echogenic bowel due to homozygosity for cystic fibrosis, and the other had low anorectal malformation. Bowel loop dilatation was observed prenatally in both cases and in another one isolated case (18%). GA at delivery was 38 ± 1.8 weeks, and the median time between diagnosis and delivery was 3 weeks. All three cases of neonatal death occurred in syndromic fetuses. All patients with nonsyndromic inguinal hernias underwent definitive surgical repair at a median of 13 days postpartum. No signs of strangulation and only one case of edematous bowel without necrosis have been reported. In conclusion, FIH should be suspected in male fetuses when an intrascrotal mass with peristalsis is diagnosed during the third trimester. Close follow-up until term in the absence of signs of bowel obstruction is reasonable, and in isolated FIH, the prognosis is favorable.

Keywords: Congenital anomalies; Inguinal hernia; Perinatal outcome; Perineal mass; Prenatal diagnosis.

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