Broad ligament herniation is very rare and accounts for 4%-7% of all internal hernias 1.
The presentation is that of a small bowel obstruction.
Congenital (primary) defects in the broad ligaments are peritoneal developmental defects.
Acquired (secondary) broad ligament defects may be caused by trauma, surgery, pregnancy, and spontaneous rupture of pelvic cystic lesions 1.
A classification for broad ligament hernias was proposed by Cilley et al, based on the defect's anatomical location 1:
- type I: defect through the entire broad ligament
- type II: defect through the mesovarium and mesosalpinx above the round ligament
- type III: defect through the mesoligamentum teres, between broad and round ligaments
Features are those of a pelvic small bowel closed-loop obstruction:
- small bowel dilatation
- double transition point in pelvic location, lateral to the uterus.
- pelvic free fluid
Treatment and prognosis
A broad ligament hernia is treated surgically with reduction of the hernia and closure of the broad ligament defect.
To avoid recurrence, exploration of the contralateral broad ligament should be systematic, since these defects can be bilateral.
Delay in diagnosis may lead to intestinal necrosis and perforation.
History and etymology
The first case of broad ligament hernia was described in an autopsy by Quain in 1861 1.
Closed-loop small bowel obstruction due to adhesive band is the main differential.
- 1. Zemour J, Zemour CX, Zemour FH, Zemour. Herniation of the broad ligament… And the other side?. (2020) International journal of surgery case reports. doi:10.1016/j.ijscr.2019.11.024 - Pubmed
- 2. Karmali S, Zurawin RK, Sherman V. Herniation through the broad ligament. (2010) CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne. 182 (2): 174. doi:10.1503/cmaj.090667 - Pubmed
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