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Hernia sacs: is histological examination necessary?
  1. Tao Wang1,
  2. Rajkumar Vajpeyi1,2
  1. 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Department of Pathology, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rajkumar Vajpeyi, Department of Pathology, Toronto General Hospital, 200 Elizabeth Street, Rm 11E-444, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2C4; rajkumar.vajpeyi{at}


The hernia sac is a common surgical pathology specimen which can occasionally yield unexpected diagnoses. The College of American Pathologists recommends microscopic examination of abdominal hernias, but leaves submission of inguinal hernias for histology to the discretion of the pathologist. To validate this approach at a tertiary care centre, we retrospectively reviewed 1426 hernia sacs derived from inguinal, femoral and abdominal wall hernias. The majority of pathologies noted were known to the clinician, including herniated bowel, lipomas and omentum. A malignancy was noted in three of 800 inguinal hernias and seven of 576 abdominal wall hernias; five of these lesions were not seen on gross examination. Other interesting findings in hernia sacs included appendices, endometriosis, a perivascular epithelioid cell tumour, and pseudomyxoma peritoneii. All hernia sacs should be examined grossly as most pathologies are grossly visible. The decision to submit inguinal hernias for histology may be left to the discretion of the pathologist, but abdominal and femoral hernias should be submitted for histology.

  • Surgical Pathology
  • Histopathology
  • Evidence Based Pathology

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