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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Obturator hernia: A diagnostic challenge

Challenging differential diagnosis, Unusual setting of medical care, Rare disease

Midori Tokushima, Hidetoshi Aihara, Masaki Tago, Motosuke Tomonaga, Yuta Sakanishi, Tsuneaki Yoshioka, Masaki Hyakutake, Itaru Kyoraku, Takashi Sugioka, Shu-ichi Yamashita

Japan Department of General Medicine, Saga University Hospital, Saga City, Japan

Am J Case Rep 2014; 15:280-283

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.890555

Available online: 2014-06-28

Published: 2014-06-28


Background: Obturator hernia (OH) can be difficult to diagnose because it shows only nonspecific signs and symptoms. Although pain in a lower limb caused by compression of the obturator nerve by the hernia in the obturator canal (Howship-Romberg sign) is a characteristic sign, its presence is rather rare.
Case Report: We herein describe the case of a 90-year-old woman with an OH that was difficult to diagnose because of her slight abdominal signs and symptoms on admission and subtle abdominal computed tomography (CT) findings. Although the CT images revealed the presence of an OH, this finding was overlooked because it contained only a part of the small intestine wall, which is called the Richter type. Fortunately, her condition improved dramatically with only conservative treatment.
Conclusions: Although early diagnosis is essential to reduce morbidity and mortality, OH can be a diagnostic challenge even with abdominal CT.

Keywords: Geriatrics, Hernia - diagnosis, Ileus - diagnosis