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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 138-143

Large scrotal hernias: Totally extraperitoneal (TEP) or transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) repair?

1 Department of Surgical Disciplines, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Surgery, Mahatma Gandhi University of Medical Sciences and Technology, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Submission01-Jul-2020
Date of Decision05-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance20-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Nov-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Virinder Kumar Bansal
Room Number 5021, 5th Floor, Teaching Block, Department of Surgical Disciplines, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijawhs.ijawhs_27_20

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INTRODUCTION: Large scrotal hernias are rare, constituting <2% of all hernias repairs. Few of these large scrotal hernias become massive or giant due to neglect in treatment for many years. Conventionally, open surgery was advocated for these hernias, but with experience, laparoscopic repairs have been performed in the recent years for these hernias.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We reviewed our experience of patients with large scrotal hernias (L3, M3, or R) undergoing either totally extraperitoneal (TEP) or transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP). Demographic profile, clinical characteristics of hernia, and intra- and postoperative outcomes were recorded.
RESULTS: There were 144 patients with large hernias, of which 10 were massive hernias. TEP repair was attempted in 85 patients and TAPP repair in 59 patients. In 25 patients (7 in TEP and 18 in TAPP), laparoscopic-assisted approach was used. TEP repair successful in 64 patients (75.3%) and converted to TAPP in 15 patients (17.6%) and to open in 6 patients (7.1%). TAPP was successful in 53 patients (89.8%) and was converted to open repair in 6 patients (10.2%). Seroma was noted in 42 patients, spermatic cord edema in 26 patients, and scrotal hematoma in 14 patients at 1st week. The mean follow-up was 2 years. Two patients had recurrence and TAPP repair was done. None of the patients developed mesh infection or chronic groin pain.
CONCLUSION: We believe that TEP and TAPP repair are complementary and hernia surgeons should be adept at both techniques. TAPP repair has advantages in large irreducible hernias and should be preferred.

Keywords: Hybrid, large scrotal hernia, massive, totally extraperitoneal, transabdominal preperitoneal

How to cite this article:
Bansal VK, Prakash O, Krishna A, Kumar S, Jain M, Mishra MC. Large scrotal hernias: Totally extraperitoneal (TEP) or transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) repair?. Int J Abdom Wall Hernia Surg 2020;3:138-43

How to cite this URL:
Bansal VK, Prakash O, Krishna A, Kumar S, Jain M, Mishra MC. Large scrotal hernias: Totally extraperitoneal (TEP) or transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) repair?. Int J Abdom Wall Hernia Surg [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 May 14];3:138-43. Available from: http://www.herniasurgeryjournal.org/text.asp?2020/3/4/138/302023

  Introduction Top

Large scrotal hernias are rare and constitute <2% of all hernias repairs.[1],[2] They acquire large size often due to neglect of treatment for many years due to lack to access to health-care facility, illiteracy, fear of surgery, and impotence.[3] Few of these large scrotal hernias go on to become massive or giant inguinal hernias.

These patients are a surgical challenges not only because of the size of the hernia but also due to more rigorous perioperative preparation for these patients, especially those with loss of domain. Conventionally, open surgery was advocated for these hernias in view of the irreducibility and space constraints.[4],[5] In the recent past with advances in laparoscopic skills, many of these hernias have been repaired by both totally extraperitoneal (TEP) or transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) repair with good results, and International End-hernia Society (IEHS)[6] guidelines recommend that either TEP or TAPP can be possible therapeutic options for large scrotal hernias in the hands of experienced surgeons. We report our experience with laparoscopic repair of large and massive inguino scrotal hernias with both TEP and TAPP.

  Patients and Methods Top

A retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database was done from January 2004 to December 2019. All patients undergoing laparoscopic repair for large scrotal hernias (L3, M3, or R) according to European Hernia Society (EHS)[7] classification were analyzed [Figure 1]. Demographic profile, clinical characteristics of the hernia, and intraoperative and postoperative outcomes were recorded.
Figure 1: Study flowchart

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Massive or giant hernias were defined as an inguinal hernia that extends below the mid-point of the inner thigh in standing position or anterior and posterior diameter of at least 30 cm, a latero-lateral diameter of about 50 cm, and have been nonreducible for more than 10 years[8],[9] [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Massive/giant scrotal hernia

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Details of preoperative workup included biochemical investigations; cardio-pulmonary evaluation and ultrasound/computed tomography scan of abdomen and scrotum were recorded. Patients above the age of 60 years underwent uroflowmetry analysis and postvoid residual urine for evaluation of benign prostatic hypertrophy. If significant bladder outflow obstruction was found, the patients were started on medical therapy for at least 4 weeks prior to surgery. Written informed consent was taken from all the patients and included consent for orchiectomy and possible postoperative elective ventilation, if required especially in patients with massive/giant scrotal hernias. A vigorous chest physiotherapy with incentive spirometer was started a week before surgery. All procedures were performed under general anesthesia. The patients underwent either TEP or TAPP, depending on patient factors as well as surgeon preference. A single dose of prophylactic antibiotic (amoxicillin + clavulanic acid) was given at the time of induction, and preoperative catheterization was done to decompress the bladder in all patients. TEP and TAPP were performed by the standard technique[10] and either an appropriate sized 3D Bard mesh or flat polypropylene mesh was used. Tacker fixation was done in all patients. Irreducible hernias were reduced after general anesthesia with or without external manipulation. Where hernial contents (bowel, omentum, bladder, and sigmoid colon) could not be reduced, a laparoscopic-assisted (hybrid) approach was used, where in a 3–4 cm incision was made over the hernial sac, adhesiolysis of the contents with the sac was done, and the contents were reduced. The sac was then sutured, and skin and subcutaneous tissue were closed. After this, the procedure was completed laparoscopically. A suction drain was placed in cases where there was bleeding or some collection. Intraoperative details including operating time, creation of space, delineation of anatomy, and complications were recorded in a prestructured pro forma.

Foleys catheter was removed on the next day morning in majority of the patients. Patients were discharged from the hospital once they started accepting oral feeds; there was no fever or abdominal signs and voiding urine adequately. The patients were followed up in follow-up clinic at 1 week, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and yearly thereafter. The patients underwent clinical examination at each visit and any scrotal hematoma, cord edema, pain, recurrence, seroma, port site/mesh infection, and other symptoms were recorded. If a seroma was detected, it was observed for 4–6 weeks. Intervention was done only if the seroma persisted or became symptomatic after the period of observation.

Statistical analysis

Quantitative data waweres analyzed by application of Student's t-test/Mann–Whitney test. The qualitative data were analyzed by Chi-square test/Fisher's test, whichever applicable. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Other appropriate statistical analysis was done wherever required.

  Results Top

One hundred and forty-four male patients had large scrotal hernias out of 1,994 patients operated during this period [Figure 3]. Of these, ten were massive hernias. TEP repair was attempted in 85 patients (97 hernias) and TAPP repair was attempted in 59 patients (73 hernias). All patients with massive hernia underwent TAPP repair [Figure 1].
Figure 3: Large scrotal hernia

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The mean age of the patients in the TEP group was 57.7 years (range: 43–86 years) and in TAPP group, it was 55.3 years (range: 42–78 years). There was no significant difference in body mass index (24.9 ± 3.9 vs. 25.1 ± 3.2), and majority of the hernias were unilateral and indirect in the TEP group [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic detail

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The hernial contents could be reduced with manipulation from inside or outside in 57 patients undergoing TEP and 35 patients in TAPP groups [Figure 4] and [Figure 5]. In 25 patients (7 in TEP and 18 in TAPP), the contents could not to be reduced so a laparoscopic-assisted approach was used in these patients. Of the 18 laparoscopic assisted procedures in TAPP group, 8 patients had massive hernias [Table 2].
Figure 4: Transabdominal preperitoneal view of hernial contents in large scrotal hernia

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Figure 5: Intraoperatively bilateral direct defect in transabdominal preperitoneal repair

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Table 2 Intraoperative details

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TEP repair was successful in 64 patients (75.3%) and was converted to TAPP in 15 patients (17.6%) and to open in 6 patients (7.1%). The reasons for conversion was inadequate space in 8 patients and bleeding leading to poor vision with unsatisfactory dissection in 13 patients. One patient had small sigmoid colon perforation without contamination, which was repaired primarily after open conversion and open tissue repair was done. Peritoneal breach occurred in 23 (27%) patients. The sac was opened at the deep ring deliberately in 21 patients due to difficulty in the reduction of contents. Moderate bleeding during dissection was seen in ten patients and IEV were injured in four patients. However, hemostasis was achieved with monopolar diathermy or harmonic. A close suction drain was placed in all the 14 patients and removed after 48 h.

TAPP repair was successful in 53 patients (89.8%) and was converted to open repair in 6 patients (10.2%). Out of these six conversions, two patients had massive hernias. The reason for conversion was inadequate space and sigmoid colon perforation without contamination in one patient, which was repaired primarily after open conversion and open tissue repair was done. In nine patients, there was moderate bleeding during dissection; hemostasis was achieved with monopolar diathermy or harmonic. A close suction drain was placed in these patients and removed after 48 h [Table 2].

The mean operating time was 74 min (range, 68–184 min) in TEP repair and 86 min (range, 76–210 min) in TAPP repair. The mean operating time for massive scrotal hernia was 140 min (range, 92–240 min) [Table 2]. Six patients had serosal injuries (four in TEP, and two in TAPP) to the small bowel, and were repaired laparoscopically. Urinary bladder injuries were noted intraoperative in four patients (one in TEP, and three in TAPP), which were repaired laparoscopically with 2-0 polyglactin suture, and the catheter was removed after 2 weeks of surgery after a check cystogram [Table 3]. Preshaped bard 3 D max large size mesh was used in 106 (67%), extra-large in 39 (24.7%), and flat polypropylene mesh (12 cm × 15 cm) was used in 8.3% of hernias repair. Absorbable or nonabsorbable tacker was used in majority with 2-point tacker fixation and in few patients with large hernias, multiple tackers were used to prevent mesh protrusion through the defect [Table 2].
Table 3: Intra- and post-operative complications

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Two patients required elective postoperative ventilation for 48 h following TAPP repair of massive scrotal hernia. However, none of these patients developed abdominal compartment syndrome. The length of the postoperative hospital stay ranged from 2 to 5 days, and majority (70%) could be discharged from the hospital with-in 48 h.

Seroma was noted in 42 patients (28 in TEP and 16 in TAPP), spermatic cord edema in 26 patients (14 in TEP and 12 in TAPP), scrotal hematoma in 14 patients (9 in TEP and 5 in TAPP), and ecchymosis in 30 patients (18 in TEP and 12 in TAPP) at 1st week. Port-site infection was noted in five patients (three in TEP and two in TAPP), and managed with normal saline dressing and oral antibiotics [Table 3].

The mean follow-up was 2 years (range, 9 months to 10 years). Spermatic cord edema resolved spontaneously in all the 26 patients, scrotal hematoma resolved spontaneously in 10 patients, and 4 patients required aspiration at 3 weeks. Postoperative seroma resolved spontaneously in 26 patients at 6-week follow-up and in the remaining 17 patient's needle aspiration done. Second aspiration was needed in 14 patients after an interval of 3 weeks. Three patients required placement of a drain for persistent seroma for a period ranging from 2 to 4 weeks. Seroma still persisted in two patients and were explored surgically wherein the clotted blood was removed. One patient in each group developed recurrence of hernia during follow-up of 6 month and were repaired with TAPP. None of the patients developed mesh infection or chronic groin pain [Table 3].

  Discussion Top

Large scrotal hernias are rare and represent a unique challenge for even the experienced surgeon regardless of the approach used.[11] Patients often have multiple comorbidities that increase the risk of perioperative morbidity and mortality.[12] Large scrotal hernias appears when patients neglect the treatment for many years due to lack of access to health care, inhibition to express medical concern, illiteracy or fear of impotence and operation, and generally are much more commonly seen in underdeveloped countries.[3] Many of these go on to develop massive or giant hernias.

With the advances in laparoscopic equipment, techniques, and experience, more and more difficult cases are being attempted laparoscopically. The EHS[5] recommended Lichtenstein repair as the preferred technique for large scrotal hernias, but as per the recent IEHS[6] recommendations, both TAPP and TEP are possible therapeutic options by experienced surgeons. Misra et al.[3] in their experience of TEP repairs for large scrotal hernia reported that operative time, complication rates, and frequency of recurrences are higher in large scrotal hernia repair as compared to normal laparoscopic hernia repair.

There are many technical challenges in dealing with large scrotal hernias laparoscopically. The first and foremost is that majority of these hernias are irreducible for a long time and when the large scrotal contents are reduced intra-abdominally, there is loss of domain which leads to increased intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic pressure, which can lead to acute abdominal compartment syndrome, which may predispose the patient to postoperative respiratory problems and other complications.[13],[14] Various techniques have been used including the use of pre-operative progressive pneumoperitoneum,[15] botulin toxin injection,[16] component separation,[17] and intra-operative bowel and omentum dissection to increase the intra-abdominal space.[18] These problems are more common in giant inguinal hernias rather than large scrotal hernias. In our experience of laparoscopic repair of giant inguinal hernia in ten patients, only two patients were put on elective ventilation for 24–48 h and in two patients omentum resection was done because omentum was adherent to the sac and was bulky.

The other intra-operative problems encountered in these patients are reduction of chronically irreducible contents. Generally, in majority of the patients, the contents can be reduced by gentle manipulation from both inside and outside along with taxis maneuver and division of few adhesions with monopolar cautery or harmonic. In difficult cases, the laparoscopic-assisted approach was found to be useful, which has been described previously by Palanivelu et al.[19] We also recommend early recourse to this technique when encountering difficult adhesions as it makes the procedure much more faster and avoids the potential bowel and bladder injuries and patients get the benefits of laparoscopic surgery. We used this approach in 25 patients and found no superficial surgical-site infection or mesh infection in these patients. Palanivelu et al.[19] in their publication have recommended TAPP repair in all patients with irreducible large hernias, whereas TEP repair if the hernia is reducible.

The question of whether to do a TEP or TAPP would depend on the surgeon's expertise. Generally, the problems of loss of space because of peritoneal breach in much more common in TEP repair, especially in large scrotal hernias because of the difficulties in reduction of the contents, possibility of bowel injuries because of excessive traction without vision and bleeding from the testicular vessels.[11] The incidence of peritoneal breach has been reported to be very high in these patients leading on to loss of space and conversions to TAPP or open repair. Misra et al.[3] reported >35% incidence of peritoneal breach. The TAPP repair has advantages where the hernial contents can be clearly visualized and reduced under vision and working space is much more.

The incidence of testicular vessels and cord structure injury is also very high in these patients because of excessive traction and adhesions. Generally, these can be controlled by local compression, but sometimes, in massive groin hernias or recurrent hernias, we prefer to take a preoperative consent for orchiectomy.

The incidence of postoperative seroma has been reported to be higher following TAPP repair for large scrotal hernia.[13] Most large scrotal hernia repairs either open or laparoscopic have a higher risk of seroma formation. Bierca et al.[20] reported 20% seroma following Lichtenstein repair in 15 patients of giant inguinal hernia. Fujinaka et al.[13] and Leibl et al.[11] reported 75% and 10.5% seroma following TAPP repair, respectively, whereas Misra et al.[3] reported 75% seroma following TEP repair in twenty patients. The seroma formation rate in our study was 30.5% (32.9% in TEP and 21.1% in TAPP). In large scrotal hernia, laparoscopic complete dissection of hernial sac is not possible, it might lead on to increased risk of orchitis and hematoma. Leible et al.[2] also found there was no difference in the postoperative formation of a seroma between complete and incomplete sac dissection and even seroma develops after the placement of closed suction drain. Köckerling et al.[1] also have reported higher postoperative complication (1.7 vs. 3.9%, P < 0.001) and higher seroma formation (TEP 0.51% vs. TAPP 3.06, P < 0.001) following TAPP repair. They recommended a tailored approach[21] depending on surgeon's experience in deciding the procedure and have reported good results with Lichtenstein repair. Drain should be used more liberally in these patients, but whether drain decrease the incidence of seroma or not is not clear.

We recommend that TAPP repair should be attempted for all large irreducible hernias and TEP can be attempted in large reducible hernias with sufficient surgeon experience. Both procedures have similar outcomes in terms of success of surgery and long-term outcomes such as seroma, wound infection and recurrence rates with TAPP having higher incidence of seroma and TEP having higher conversion to TAPP or open repair.

In large scrotal hernias, both TEP and TAPP repair are feasible with slightly increased incidence of intraoperative complications such as longer operative time, scrotal edema and seroma, and bowel injury. Laparoscopic-assisted approach should be resorted to early if there are difficult adhesions in a large hernia, which helps in the prevention of complications of bowel–bladder injury.

We believe that TEP and TAPP repair are complementary and hernia surgeons should be adept at both techniques. Definitely, TAPP repair has advantages in large irreducible hernias and should be preferred in such circumstances.

Ethical approval

This is a retrospective review of cases for which Ethical clearance is not required. No patient related confidential information has been revealed in this manuscript.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Köckerling F, Bittner R, Jacob DA, Seidelmann L, Keller T, Adolf D, et al. TEP versus TAPP: Comparison of the perioperative outcome in 17,587 patients with a primary unilateral inguinal hernia. Surg Endosc 2015;29:3750-60.  Back to cited text no. 1
Leibl BJ, Schmedt CG, Kraft K, Ulrich M, Bittner R. Scrotal hernias: A contraindication for an endoscopic procedure? Results of a single-institution experience in transabdominal preperitoneal repair. Surg Endosc 2000;14:289-92.  Back to cited text no. 2
Misra MC, Bhowate PD, Bansal VK, Kumar S. Massive scrotal hernias: Problems and solutions. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A 2009;19:19-22.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kulacoglu H. Current options in inguinal hernia repair in adult patients. Hippokratia 2011;15:223-31.  Back to cited text no. 4
Simons MP, Aufenacker T, Bay-Nielsen M, Bouillot JL, Campanelli G, Conze J, et al. European Hernia Society guidelines on the treatment of inguinal hernia in adult patients. Hernia 2009;13:343-403.  Back to cited text no. 5
Bittner R, Montgomery MA, Arregui E, Bansal V, Bingener J, Bisgaard T, et al. Update of guidelines on laparoscopic (TAPP) and endoscopic (TEP) treatment of inguinal hernia (International Endohernia Society). Surg Endosc 2015;29:289-321.  Back to cited text no. 6
Miserez M, Alexandre JH, Campanelli G, Corcione F, Cuccurullo D, Pascual MH, et al. The European hernia society groin hernia classification: Simple and easy to remember. Hernia 2007;11:113-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
Hodgkinson DJ, McIlrath DC. Scrotal reconstruction for giant inguinal hernias. Surg Clin North Am 1984;64:307-13.  Back to cited text no. 8
Cavalli M, Biondi A, Bruni PG, Campanelli G. Giant inguinal hernia: The challenging hug technique. Hernia 2015;19:775-83.  Back to cited text no. 9
Bansal VK, Misra MC, Babu D, Victor J, Kumar S, Sagar R, et al. A prospective, randomized comparison of long-term outcomes: Chronic groin pain and quality of life following totally extraperitoneal (TEP) and transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair. Surg Endosc 2013;27:2373-82.  Back to cited text no. 10
Leibl BJ, Jäger C, Kraft B, Kraft K, Schwarz J, Ulrich M, et al. Laparoscopic hernia repair-TAPP or/and TEP? Langenbecks Arch Surg 2005;390:77-82.  Back to cited text no. 11
Ferzli GS, Rim S, Edwards ED. Combined laparoscopic and open extraperitoneal approach to scrotal hernias. Hernia 2013;17:223-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
Fujinaka R, Urade T, Fukuoka E, Murata K, Mii Y, Sawa H, et al. Laparoscopic transabdominal preperitoneal approach for giant inguinal hernias. Asian J Surg 2019;42:414-9.  Back to cited text no. 13
Coetzee E, Price C, Boutall A. Simple repair of a giant inguinoscrotal hernia. Int J Surg Case Rep 2011;2:32-5.  Back to cited text no. 14
Willis S, Schumpelick V. Use of progressive pneumoperitoneum in the repair of giant hernias. Hernia 2000;4:105-11.  Back to cited text no. 15
Bueno-Lledó J, Torregrosa A, Jiménez R, Pastor PG. Preoperative combination of progressive pneumoperitoneum and botulinum toxin type A in patients with loss of domain hernia. Surg Endosc 2018;32:3599-608.  Back to cited text no. 16
Valliattu AJ, Kingsnorth AN. Single-stage repair of giant inguinoscrotal hernias using the abdominal wall component separation technique. Hernia 2008;12:329-30.  Back to cited text no. 17
Staubitz JI, Gassmann P, Kauff DW, Lang H. Surgical treatment strategies for giant inguinoscrotal hernia - A case report with review of the literature. BMC Surg 2017;17:135.  Back to cited text no. 18
Palanivelu C, Rangarajan M, John SJ. Modified technique of laparoscopic intraperitoneal hernioplasty for irreducible scrotal hernias (omentoceles): How to remove the hernial contents. World J Surg 2007;31:1889-91.  Back to cited text no. 19
Bierca J, Kosim A, Kołodziejczak M, Zmora J, Kultys E. Effectiveness of Lichtenstein repairs in planned treatment of giant inguinal hernia - Own experience. Wideochir Inne Tech Maloinwazyjne 2013;8:36-42.  Back to cited text no. 20
Köckerling F, Schug-Pass C. Tailored approach in inguinal hernia repair-Decision tree based on the guidelines. Front Surg 2014;1:20.  Back to cited text no. 21


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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