DEMONSTRATIONS OF THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF INGUINAL HERNIAE IN GENERAL.
PLATE 41, Fig. 1.--When the serous spermatic tube is obliterated for its whole length between the internal ring, 1, and the top of the testicle, 13, a hernia, in order to enter the inguinal canal, 1, 4, must either rupture the peritonaeum at the point 1, or dilate this membrane before it in the form of a sac. [Footnote] If the peritonaeum at the point 1 be ruptured by the intestine, this latter will enter the fibrous spermatic tube, 2, 3, and will pass along this tube devoid of the serous sac. If, on the other hand, the intestine dilates the serous membrane at the point, 1, where it stretches across the internal ring, it will, on entering the fibrous tube, (infundibuliform fascia,) be found invested by a sac of the peritonaeum, which it dilates and pouches before itself. As the epigastric artery, 9, bends in general along the internal border of the ring of the fibrous tube, 2, 2, the neck of the hernial sac which enters the ring at a point external to the artery must be external to it, and remain so despite all further changes in the form, position, and dimensions of the hernia. And as this hernia enters the ring at a point anterior to the spermatic vessels, its neck must be anterior to them. Again, if the bowel be invested by a serous sac, formed of the peritonaeum at the point 1, the neck of such sac must intervene between the protruding bowel and the epigastric and spermatic vessels. But if the intestine enter the ring of the fibrous tube, 2, 2, by having ruptured the peritonaeum at the point 1, then the naked intestine will lie in immediate contact with these vessels.
[Footnote: Mr. Lawrence (op. cit.) remarks, "When we consider the texture of the peritonaeum, and the mode of its connexion to the abdominal parietes, we cannot fancy the possibility of tearing the membrane by any attitude or motion." Cloquet and Scarpa have also expressed themselves to the effect, that the peritonaeum suffers a gradual distention before the protruding bowel.]
PLATE 41, Fig. 2--When the serous spermatic tube, 11, remains pervious between the internal ring, 1, (where it communicates with the general peritonaeal membrane,) and the top of the testicle, (where it opens into the tunica vaginalis,) the bowel enters this tube directly, without a rupture of the peritonaeum at the point 1. This tube, therefore, becomes one of the investments of the bowel. It is the serous sac, not formed by the protruding bowel, but one already open to receive the bowel. This is the condition necessary to the formation of congenital hernia. This hernia must be one of the external oblique variety, because it enters the open abdominal end of the infantile serous spermatic tube, which is always external to the epigastric artery. Its position in regard to the spermatic vessels is the same as that noticed in Fig, 1, Plate 41. But, as the serous tube through which the congenital hernia descends, still communicates with the tunica vaginalis, so will this form of hernia enter this tunic, and thereby become different to all other herniae, forasmuch as it will lie in immediate contact with the testicle. [Footnote]
[Footnote: A hernia may be truly congenital, and yet the intestine may not enter the tunica vaginalis. Thus, if the serous spermatic tube close only at the top of the testicle, the bowel which traverses the open internal inguinal ring and pervious tube will not enter the tunica vaginalis.]
PLATE 41, Fig. 3.--The infantile serous spermatic tube, 11, sometimes remains pervious in the neighbourhood of the internal ring, 1, and a narrow tapering process of the tube (the canal of Nuck) descends within the fibrous tube, 2, 3, and lies in front of the spermatic vessels and epigastric artery. Before this tube reaches the testicle, it degenerates into a mere filament, and thus the tunica vaginalis has become separated from it as a distinct sac. When the bowel enters the open abdominal end of the serous tube, this latter becomes the hernial sac. It is not possible to distinguish by any special character a hernia of this nature, when already formed, from one which occurs in the condition of parts proper to Fig. 1, Plate 41, or that which is described in the note to Fig. 2, Plate 41; for when the intestine dilates the tube, 11, into the form of a sac, this latter assumes the exact shape of the sac, as noticed in Fig. 1, Plate 41. The hernia in question cannot enter the tunica vaginalis. Its position in regard to the epigastric and spermatic vessels is the same as that mentioned above.
PLATE 41, Fig. 4.--If the serous spermatic tube, 11, be obliterated or closed at the internal ring, 1, thus cutting off communication with the general peritonaeal membrane; and if, at the same time, it remain pervious from this point above to the tunica vaginalis below, then the herniary bowel, when about to protrude at the point 1, must force and dilate the peritonaeum, in order to form its sac anew, as stated of Fig. 1, Plate 41. Such a hernia does not enter either the serous tube or the tunica vaginalis; but progresses from the point 1, in a distinct sac. In this case, there will be found two sacs--one enclosing the bowel; and another, consisting of the serous spermatic tube, still continuous with the tunica vaginalis. This original state of the parts may, however, suffer modification in two modes: 1st, if the bowel rupture the peritonaeum at the point 1, it will enter the serous tube 11, and descend through this into the cavity of the tunica vaginalis, as in the congenital variety. 2nd, if the bowel rupture the peritonaeum near the point 1, and does not enter the serous tube 11, nor the tunica vaginalis, then the bowel will be found devoid of a proper serous sac, while the serous tube and tunica vaginalis still exist in communication. In either case, the hernia will hold the same relative position in regard to the epigastric artery and spermatic vessels, as stated of Fig. 1, Plate 41.
PLATE 41, Fig. 5.--Sudden rupture of the peritonaeum at the closed internal serous ring, 1, though certainly not impossible, may yet be stated as the exception to the rule in the formation of an external inguinal hernia. The aphorism, "natura non facit saltus," is here applicable. When the peritonaeum suffers dilatation at the internal ring, 1, it advances gradatim and pari passu with the progress of the protruding bowel, and assumes the form, character, position, and dimensions of the inverted curved phases, marked 11, 11, till, from having at first been a very shallow pouch, lying external to the epigastric artery, 9, it advances through the inguinal canal to the external ring, 4, and ultimately traverses this aperture, taking the course of the fibrous tube, 3, down to the testicle in the scrotum.
PLATE 41, Fig. 6.--When the bowel dilates the peritonaeum opposite the internal ring, and carries a production of this membrane before it as its sac, then the hernia will occupy the inguinal canal, and become invested by all those structures which form the canal. These structures are severally infundibuliform processes, so fashioned by the original descent of the testicle; and, therefore, as the bowel follows the track of the testicle, it becomes, of course, invested by the selfsame parts in the selfsame manner. Thus, as the infundibuliform fascia, 2, 3, contains the hernia and spermatic vessels, so does the cremaster muscle, extending from the lower margins of the internal oblique and transversalis, invest them also in an infundibuliform manner. [Footnote]
[Footnote: Much difference of opinion prevails as to the true relation which the cord (and consequently the oblique hernia) bears to the lower margins of the oblique and transverse muscles, and their cremasteric prolongation. Mr. Guthrie (Inguinal and Femoral Hernia) has shown that the fibres of the transversalis, as well as those of the internal oblique, are penetrated by the cord. Albinus, Haller, Cloquet, Camper, and Scarpa, record opinions from which it may be gathered that this disposition of the parts is (with some exceptions) general. Sir Astley Cooper describes the lower edge of the transversalis as curved all round the internal ring and cord. From my own observations, coupled with these, I am inclined to the belief that, instead of viewing these facts as isolated and meaningless particulars, we should now fuse them into the one idea expressed by the philosophic Carus, and adopted by Cloquet, that the cremaster is a production of the abdominal muscles, formed mechanically by the testicle, which in its descent dilates, penetrates, and elongates their fibres.]
PLATE 41. Fig. 7.--When an external inguinal hernia, 11, dilates and protrudes the peritonaeum from the closed internal ring, 1, and descends the inguinal canal and fibrous tube, 3, 3, it imitates, in most respects, the original descent of the testicle. The difference between both descents attaches alone to the mode in which they become covered by the serous membrane; for the testicle passes through the internal ring behind the inguinal peritonaeum, at the same time that it takes a duplicature of this membrane; whereas the bowel encounters this part of the peritonaeum from within, and in this mode becomes invested by it on all sides. This figure also represents the form and relative position of a hernia, as occurring in Figs. 1 and 3, 5, and 6, Plate 41.
PLATE 41, Fig. 8.--When the serous spermatic tube only closes at the internal ring, as seen at 1, Fig. 4, Plate 41, if a hernia afterwards pouch the peritonaeum at this part, and enter the inguinal canal, we shall then have the form of hernia, Fig. 8, Plate 41, termed infantile. Two serous sacs will be here found, one within the cord, 13, and communicating with the tunica vaginalis, the other, 11, containing the bowel, and being received by inversion into the upper extremity of the first. Thus the infantile serous canal, 13, receives the hernial sac, 11. The inguinal canal and cord may become multicapsular, as in Fig. 8, from various causes, each capsule being a distinct serous membrane. First, independent of hernial formation, the original serous tube may become interruptedly obliterated, as in Plate 40, Fig. 2. Secondly, these sacs may persist to adult age, and have a hernial sac added to their number, whatever this may be. Thirdly, the original serous tube, 13, Fig. 8, may persist, and after having received the hernial sac, 11, the bowel may have been reduced, leaving its sac behind it in the inguinal canal; the neck of this sac may have been obliterated by the pressure of a truss, a second hernia may protrude at the point 1, and this may be received into the first hernial sac in the same manner as the first was received into the original serous infantile tube. The possibility of these occurrences is self-evident, even if they were never as yet experienced. [Footnote]
[Footnote: According to Mr. Lawrence and M. Cloquet, most of the serous cysts found around hernial tumours are ancient sacs obliterated at the neck, and adhering to the new swelling (opera cit.)]
PLATE 42, Fig. 1.--The epigastric artery, 9, being covered by the fascia transversalis, can lend no support to the internal ring, 2, 2, nor to the tube prolonged from it. The herniary bowel may, therefore, dilate the peritonaeum immediately on the inner side of the artery, and enter the inguinal canal. In this way the hernia, 11, although situated internal to the epigastric artery, assumes an oblique course through the canal, and thus closely simulates the external variety of inguinal hernia, Fig. 7, Plate 41. If the hernia enter the canal, as represented in Fig. 1, Plate 42, it becomes invested by the same structures, and assumes the same position in respect to the spermatic vessels, as the external hernia.
PLATE 42, Fig. 2.--The hernial sac, 11, which entered the ring of the fibrous tube, 2, 2, at a point immediately internal to the epigastric artery, 9, may, from having been at first oblique, as in Fig. 1, Plate 42, assume a direct position. In this case, the ring of the fibrous tube, 2, 2, will be much widened; but the artery and spermatic vessels will remain in their normal position, being in no wise affected by the gravitating hernia. If the conjoined tendon, 6, be so weak as not to resist the gravitating force of the hernia, the tendon will become bent upon itself. If the umbilical cord, 10, be side by side with the epigastric artery at the time that the hernia enters the mouth of the fibrous tube, then, of course, the cord will be found external. If the cord lie towards the pubes, apart from the vessel, the hernia may enter the fibrous tube between the cord, 10, and artery, 9. [Footnote:] It is impossible for any internal hernia to assume the congenital form, because the neck of the original serous spermatic tube, 11, Fig. 2, Plate 41, being external to the epigastric artery, 9, cannot be entered by the hernia, which originates internally to this vessel.
[Footnote: M. Cloquet states that the umbilical cord is always found on the inner side of the external hernia. Its position varies in respect to the internal hernia, (op. cit. prop. 52.)]
PLATE 42, Fig. 3.--Every internal hernia, which does not rupture the peritonaeum, carries forward a sac produced anew from this membrane, whether the hernia enter the inguinal canal or not. But this is not the case with respect to the fibrous membrane which forms the fascia propria. If the hernia enter the inguinal wall immediately on the inner side of the epigastric artery, Fig. 1, Plate 42, it passes direct into the ring of the fibrous tube, 2, 2, already prepared to receive it. But when the hernia, 11, Fig. 3, Plate 42, cleaves the conjoined tendon, 6, 6, then the artery, 9, and the tube, 2, 2, remain in their usual position, while the bowel carries forward a new investment from the transversalis fascia, 5, 5. That part of the conjoined tendon which stands external to the hernia keeps the tube, 2, 2, in its proper place, and separates it from the fold of the fascia which invests the hernial sac. This is the only form in which an internal hernia can be said to be absolutely distinct from the inguinal canal and spermatic vessels. This hernia, when passing the external ring, 4, has the spermatic cord on its outer side.
PLATE 42, Fig. 4.--The external hernia, from having been originally oblique, may assume the position of a hernia originally internal and direct. The change of place exhibited by this form of hernia does not imply a change either in its original investments or in its position with respect to the epigastric artery and spermatic vessels. The change is merely caused by the weight and gravitation of the hernial mass, which bends the epigastric artery, 9*, from its first position on the inner margin of the internal ring, 1, till it assumes the place 9. In consequence of this, the internal ring of the fascia transversalis, 2, 2, is considerably widened, as it is also in Fig. 2, Plate 42. It is the inner margin of the fibrous ring which has suffered the pressure; and thus the hernia now projects directly from behind forwards, through, 4, the external ring. The conjoined tendon, 6, when weak, becomes bent upon itself. The change of place performed by the gravitating hernia may disturb the order and relative position of the spermatic vessels; but these, as well as the hernia, still occupy the inguinal canal, and are invested by the spermatic fascia, 3, 3. When an internal hernia, Fig. 1, Plate 42, enters the inguinal canal, it also may descend the cord as far as the testicle, and assume in respect to this gland the same position as the external hernia. [Footnote]
[Footnote: As the external hernia, Fig. 4, Plate 42, may displace the epigastric artery inwards, so may the internal hernia, Fig. 1, Plate 42, displace the artery outwards. Mr. Lawrence, Sir Astley Cooper, Scarpa, Hesselbach, and Langenbeck, state, however, that the internal hernia does not disturb the artery from its usual position three-fourths of an inch from the external ring.]
PLATE 42, Figs. 5, 6, 7.--The form and position of the inguinal canal varies according to the sex and age of the individual. In early life, Fig. 6, the internal ring is situated nearly opposite to the external ring, 4. As the pelvis widens gradually in the advance to adult age, Fig. 5, the canal becomes oblique as to position. This obliquity is caused by a change of place, performed rather by the internal than the external ring. [Footnote] The greater width of the female pelvis than of the male, renders the canal more oblique in the former; and this, combined with the circumstance that the female inguinal canal, Fig. 7, merely transmits the round ligament, 14, accounts anatomically for the fact, that this sex is less liable to the occurrence of rupture in this situation.
[Footnote: M. Velpeau (Nouveaux Elemens de med. Operat.) states the length of the inguinal canal in a well-formed adult, measured from the internal to the external ring, to be 1-1/2 or 2 inches, and 3 inches including the rings; but that in some individuals the rings are placed nearly opposite; whilst in young subjects the two rings nearly always correspond. When, in company with these facts, we recollect how much the parts are liable to be disturbed in ruptures, it must be evident that their relative position cannot be exactly ascertained by measurement, from any given point whatever. The judgment alone must fix the general average.]