Inguinal hernia surgery is one of the most common electively performed surgeries in infants. The common nature of inguinal hernia combined with the high-risk population involving a predominance of preterm infants makes this a particular area of interest for those concerned with their perioperative care. Despite a large volume of literature in the area of infant inguinal hernia surgery, there remains much debate amongst anesthetists, surgeons and neonatologists regarding the optimal perioperative management of these patients. The questions asked by clinicians include; when should the surgery occur, how should the surgery be performed (open or laparoscopic), how should the anesthesia be conducted, including regional versus general anesthesia and airway devices used, and what impact does anesthesia choice have on the developing brain? There is a paucity of evidence in the literature on the concerns, priorities or goals of the parents or caregivers but clearly their opinions do and should matter. In this article we review the current clinical surgical and anesthesia practice and evidence for infants undergoing inguinal hernia surgery to help clinicians answer these questions.

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Taverner, Krishnan, Baird, von Ungern-Sternberg.
Paediatric Anaesthesia October 2023