Mithilesh Kumar Sinha1, Apurba Barman2, Prabhas Ranjan Tripathy3, Ankit Shettar1

1Department of General Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India
2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India
3 Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India


Objective: In open inguinal hernioplasty, three inguinal nerves are encountered in the surgical field. It is advisable to identify these nerves as careful dissection reduces the chances of debilitating post-operative inguinodynia. Recognizing nerves during surgery can be challenging. Limited surgical studies have reported on the identification rates of all nerves. This study aimed to calculate the pooled prevalence of each nerve from these studies.

Material and Methods: We searched PubMed, CENTRAL, CINAHL, and Research Square. We selected articles that reported on the prevalence of all three nerves during surgery. A meta-analysis was performed on the data from eight studies. IVhet model from the software MetaXL was used for preparing the forest plot. Subgroup analysis was performed to understand the cause of heterogeneity.

Results: The pooled prevalence rates for Ilioinguinal nerve (IIN), Iliohypogastric nerve (IHN), and genital branch of genitofemoral nerve (GB) were 84% (95% CI 67-97%), 71% (95% CI 51-89%) and 53% (95% CI 31-74%), respectively. On subgroup analysis, the identification rates were higher in single centre studies and studies with a single primary objective as nerve identification. The heterogeneity was significant in all pooled values, excluding the subgroup analysis of IHN identification rates in single-centre studies.

Conclusion: The pooled values indicate low identification rates for IHN and GB. Significant heterogeneity and large confidence intervals reduce the importance of these values as quality standards. Better results are observed in single-centre studies and studies which are focused on nerve identification.

Keywords: Hernioplasty, inguinal hernia, peripheral nerves

Cite this article as: Sinha MK, Barman A, Tripathy PR, Shetta A. Nerve identification in open inguinal hernioplasty: A meta-analysis. Turk J Surg 2022; 38 (4): 315-326.


Ethics Committee Approval

This study was approved by All India of Medical Sciences Bhubaneswar Intstitutional Ethics Committee (Reference no: T/IM-NF/Surg/21/148, Date: 07.02.2022).

Peer Review

Externally peer-reviewed.

Author Contributions

Concept – All of authors; Design – All of authors; Supervision – MKS; Data Collection and/ or Processing – MKS, PRT, AB; Analysis and/or Interpretation – MKS, PRT, AB; Literature Search – All of authors; Writing Manuscript – All of authors; Critical Reviews – MKS, AB, PRT.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Financial Disclosure

The authors declared that this study has received no financial support.