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Concept: Superficial inguinal ring


Athletic pubalgia is a complex injury that results in loss of play in competitive athletes, especially hockey players. The number of reported sports hernias has been increasing, and the importance of their management is vital. There are no studies reporting whether athletes can return to play at preinjury levels.

Concepts: Surgery, Hernia, Pediatric surgery, Athletic pubalgia, Superficial inguinal ring, Sports medicine


Enlargement of the ilioinguinal nerve at the external inguinal ring is observed in 34% of patients undergoing primary open inguinal herniorrhaphy; in 88% of patients it occurs at the fascial edge where the hernia mushrooms with abdominal pressure. Compression neuropathy occurs near many anatomical nerve constriction sites and is associated with enlargement of the peripheral nerve accompanied by sensory changes.

Concepts: Inguinal hernia, Pain, Hernia, Herniorrhaphy, Deep inguinal ring, Superficial inguinal ring, Ilioinguinal nerve, Inguinal canal


In their paper “Prevalence of Surgical Repair for Athletic Pubalgia and Impact on Performance in Football Athletes Participating in the National Football League Combine,” Knapik et al. cut through the baloney in the literature on “sports hernia” and apply new eyes to the impact of the results of core muscle surgery on young elite athletes trying out for the National Football League (NFL). They found that the players who had surgery did just as well as all the others in and following NFL Combines. Even the players with presumptively residual, MRI findings did well. The paper is superb and identifies, in subtle ways, the importance of magnetic resonance imaging, as well as the role of experience in diagnosing and handling these injuries. The paper is a case control series that extracts tremendous beneficial information for sports physicians, athletic trainers, management, agents, players, and all of us Sunday afternoon, TV-watching football experts.

Concepts: Surgery, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Hernia, Texas, National Football League, Athletic pubalgia, Superficial inguinal ring


Sports hernias, or athletic pubalgia, is common in athletes, and primarily involves injury to the fascia, muscles, and tendons of the inguinal region near their insertion onto the pubic bone. However, management varies widely, and rectus and adductor tenotomies have not been adequately described. The purpose of this manuscript is to demonstrate a suture repair and a rectus and adductor longus tenotomy technique for sports hernias.

Concepts: Surgery, Muscle, Hernia, Pubic symphysis, Hernias, Athletic pubalgia, Superficial inguinal ring, Sports medicine


Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a common debilitating condition that is associated with groin pain and limitation in young and active patients. Besides FAI, various disorders such as hernias, adductor tendinopathy, athletic pubalgia, lumbar spine affections, and others can cause similar symptoms.

Concepts: Disease, Spinal disc herniation, Lumbar vertebrae, Vertebral column, Hernia, Athletic pubalgia, Superficial inguinal ring


Evaluation and treatment of groin pain in athletes is challenging. The anatomy is complex, and multiple pathologies often coexist. Different pathologies may cause similar symptoms, and many systems can refer pain to the groin. Many athletes with groin pain have tried prolonged rest and various treatment regimens, and received differing opinions as to the cause of their pain. The rehabilitation specialist is often given a non-specific referral of “groin pain” or “sports hernia.” The cause of pain could be as simple as the effects of an adductor strain, or as complex as athletic pubalgia or inguinal disruption. The term “sports hernia” is starting to be replaced with more specific terms that better describe the injury. Inguinal disruption is used to describe the syndromes related to the injury of the inguinal canal soft tissue environs ultimately causing the pain syndrome. The term athletic pubalgia is used to describe the disruption and/or separation of the more medial common aponeurosis from the pubis, usually with some degree of adductor tendon pathology.

Concepts: Syndromes, Inguinal hernia, Hernia, Anatomy, Medical school, Athletic pubalgia, Superficial inguinal ring, Sports medicine


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this article is to describe the results of pubic symphyseal CT arthrography compared with MRI in patients with suspected athletic pubalgia. MATERIALS AND METHODS. In this study, two musculoskeletal radiologists retrospectively searched our department’s PACS to identify patients who had undergone CT-guided injection with concurrent pubic symphyseal CT arthrography for evaluation and treatment of groin pain, sports hernia, or athletic pubalgia over a 5.5-year period (January 1, 2007-July 1, 2012). The MR and CT arthrography images and reports, clinical findings at presentation, pain response to injection, and operative findings were reviewed using the electronic medical record. RESULTS. Twelve patients underwent CT-guided injection and pubic symphyseal CT arthrography at our institution during the 5.5-year study period. Nine of the 12 patients had undergone MRI before the procedure. In two of the three patients who had not undergone MRI, CT arthrography revealed secondary clefts. Three of four patients who had secondary clefts on MRI had contrast extravasation reproducing the cleft at CT. Three patients had MRI findings suggestive of athletic pubalgia without MRI evidence of a secondary cleft; in all three of these patients, CT arthrography showed a secondary cleft. In four patients, CT arthrography revealed tendon tears at the adductor origin that were not apparent on MRI. All 12 patients reported decreased groin pain after injection. CONCLUSION. Pubic symphyseal CT arthrography is a useful technique for the diagnosis and short-term pain relief of athletic pubalgia. It can be used to identify secondary clefts and to detect tendon tears that can potentially be overlooked on MRI.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Hernia, Athletic pubalgia, Superficial inguinal ring, Sports medicine


Chronic groin pain (athletic pubalgia) is a common problem in sports such as football, hockey, cricket, baseball and athletics. Multiple co-existing pathologies are often present which commonly include posterior inguinal canal wall deficiency, conjoint tendinopathy, adductor tendinopathy, osteitis pubis and peripheral nerve entrapment. The mechanism of injury remains unclear but sports that involve either pivoting on a single leg (e.g. kicking) or a sudden change in direction at speed are most often associated with athletic pubalgia. These manoeuvres place large forces across the bony pelvis and its soft tissue supports, accounting for the usual clinical presentation of multiple symptomatic abnormalities forming one pattern of injury.

Concepts: Retrospective, Inguinal hernia, Hernia, Pelvis, Pubic symphysis, Athletic pubalgia, Superficial inguinal ring, Sports medicine


Athletes frequently injure their hips and core muscles. Accurate diagnosis and proper treatment of groin pain in the athlete can be tricky, frequently posing vexing problem for trainers and physicians. Clinical presentations of the various hip problems overlap with respect to history and physical examination. This article reviews clinical presentations and magnetic resonance imaging findings specific to the various causes of groin pain in the athlete. The focus is on the core muscle injuries (athletic pubalgia or “sports hernia”). The goal is to raise awareness about the variety of injuries that occur and therapeutic options.

Concepts: Surgery, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Medical diagnosis, Hernia, Athletic pubalgia, Superficial inguinal ring, Sports medicine


Classically, two inguinal rings are defined: internal and external. We previously introduced a third one, the secondary internal inguinal ring, deep to the classic internal. Here, we present a fourth ring, the secondary external inguinal ring, initially described by McGregor (Surg Gynecol Obstet 49:273-307, 1929), but now forgotten. Embryologically, this ring may be formed by evagination of Scarpa’s fascia during testicular descent. Anatomically, it is located 2 cm below the pubic tubercle. It is formed by Scarpa’s fascia that covers the spermatic cord anteriorly; medial and lateral fascial reflections delineate the ring and form the spermatic cord canal. The cord is attached to the posterior wall of the canal. The canal ends at the entrance of the scrotum, where Colles' fascia fuses with coverings of the cord. Adjoining the secondary external ring, at the same surgical layer and communicating with the subcutaneous abdominal space, are four subcutaneous pouches: laterally, the superficial inguinal pouch; medially, the perineal, femoral, and pubic pouches. Surgically, an inguinoscrotal hernia passes though the secondary external ring and obtains an extra outer layer by entering the spermatic cord canal. Underdevelopment of the ring leads to incomplete testicular descent or ectopic testis. We recommend reconstruction of Scarpa’s ring after orcheopexies and herniotomies in children. After urethral rupture distal to the urogenital diaphragm, urine may fill the subcutaneous abdominal space, pouches, and scrotum, due to their communication around the secondary external ring. In females, this ring was not found, possibly because of the non-descent of the ovaries through (and beyond) the inguinal canal.

Concepts: Testicle, Inguinal hernia, Pelvis, Spermatic cord, Deep inguinal ring, Transversalis fascia, Superficial inguinal ring, Inguinal canal