What are Bilateral Groin (Inguinal) Hernias?
Bilateral hernias are groin (or inguinal) hernias those that occur on both sides of the lower abdomen or groin. Bilateral inguinal hernias result from a weakness of the fascia in the abdominal wall of the groin. Hernias develop as a result of a continued weakening of the abdominal fascia until a hole develops, much like a bulge forming in a tire from repeated wear and tear. (please refer to hernia development).
Bilateral hernias can be repaired simultaneously if they are detected at the same time. During an initial examination for an inguinal hernia, surgeons will often check the other side for a possible hernia. Other than operating time, which may be slightly longer to account for the second repair, bilateral hernias are repaired in the same way as a unilateral hernia.
When deciding on the technique to employ for bilateral hernias, laparoscopic surgery is considered the most prudent option. When performing one side or both side sides laparoscopically, there only need to be three small laparoscopic incisions. The same incisions are used whether it is one or both sides needing repair. This is because the devices used during laparoscopic hernia surgery can easily transition from one side to the other. If bilateral inguinal hernias are performed open or through an incision in the groin, two separate larger incisions need to be made on each side of the groin. This leads to a longer and more painful recovery. Unless there is a significant risk factor that does not allow for laparoscopic surgery to be employed for bilateral hernias, the laparoscopic repair of bilateral hernias is preferred.