Shouldice vs Kang surgery experience

Hernia Discussion Forums Hernia Discussion Shouldice vs Kang surgery experience

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    • #29129
      Colin M.

      Hello all!

      I am new to this forum, but I am guessing there are some people who visit here to figure out which is the best surgery for an inguinal hernia, so I decided to join and make this thread.

      I have had two inguinal hernias (one on each side), and am probably one of the only people in the world to have had both Shouldice repair in Canada and the relatively new Kang repair in South Korea. So with that, I would like to give my experience with the two.

      At Shouldice, I was 13 years old, and I stayed overnight for 2 nights, probably due to my age. The operation took about 45 minutes. With the Kang repair, I was 33 years old and was able to go home 1 hour after the operation. The operation took about 20 minutes. The incision for my Shouldice repair is about 10 cm long, whereas the Kang repair incision is about 3-4 cm.

      After both surgeries, I have so far been able to live a normal, active life like nothing has ever happened. The Kang repair seems to have an advantage over the Shouldice repair in my opinion, based on the more appealing incision size which is hardly noticeable, in contrast to the huge Shouldice scar.

      I should mention I had the Kang repair done on a Saturday and I went back to work Wednesday without any issues (besides walking slowly and moving carefully, of course). I did not take any pain medication after the first day, despite being given about a week’s supply, as the pain was bearable. I feel like I could have went back to work even on the Monday, but taking some time to rest seemed easier.

      Overall, both surgeries were successful. The Kang surgery has the clear advantage over Shouldice, however, due to the much smaller incision.

      If you are not sure which operation to get for your hernia, I’d recommend the Kang surgery in Korea, and would steer clear of mesh surgeries due to the potential complications that can arise.

      Thanks, and feel free to ask any questions!

    • #29130

      At the outset let me state clearly that I long have been a fan of the Kang method but actually of both methods. However for the sake of discussion I must point out, Colin, your comparison being made is applies and oranges. First “A” was done 20 years before “B.” Second, they very likely were very different surgical situations. It’s unfair to both methods. As great as the Kang method may be, it is not proper to put such a supremely classical method as Shouldice in a compromised position as you did. It suggests bias. We can say, however, that from what is presently known about the most recent iterations of both methods, the Kang method appears to have two advantages, incision size and suturing (though some will debate the latter). Another point is how the cremaster muscle is dealt with, seemingly a Kang advantage. As far as your recovery time, etc., here again, is a situational matter. Anyway the three points I mentioned are likely important Kang advantages, but nothing is perfect. Any such comparisons need to be done fairly.

    • #29139
      Colin M.

      Hi pinto,

      Thanks for the reply. I am not sure how I was not fair in my comparison. I can only compare the two based on my experience as a patient with both surgeries, and made sure to add my age for clarification. I think I was was completely fair there. I did mention that both were successful, and I was satisfied with both surgeries.

      If I lived in Canada, I would likely opt for going to Shouldice due to proximity, saving on travel costs.

      However, if I lived anywhere else, I would opt to get the Kang surgery due to the advantages. I couldn’t think of any advantage that Shouldice had over Kang, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good surgery. Like I said, I’m living a normal life after both surgeries and able to do everything like I’ve never had a hernia in the first place 🙂

    • #29140

      Hi Colin,

      Your points are well taken. Let me clarify my post by noting your original post began by saying “people who visit here to figure out which is the best surgery for an inguinal hernia.” If we’re trying to do that then wouldn’t we want to be systematic doing it?

      Because modern medicine is so technological, taking two cases separated by twenty years surely is lopsided. The earlier one is disadvantaged by its older tech or possibly less developed technique. That has to be an unfair comparison.

      If I am not mistaken your purpose was to compare the two IH methods you experienced and concluded by saying that one was better. Perhaps that’s true but technically it’s a weak comparison to say the least. I don’t think you would personally decide on a surgery for tomorrow based on that kind of comparison, right? Your post based its conclusion on a Shouldice incision measurement more than 20 yrs. ago or more. The length of incision possibly has shortened over time. Moreover decision of surgery surely wouldn’t be based solely on incision, right?

      I appreciate the uniqueness of your experience and welcome your sharing. It would be more appreciative, I believe, if it were less evaluative because of the reasons stated. Friendly chat is appreciated but technical talk prized. Some people will make possibly life-altering decisions based on the information at HT. It’s in our collective interest to together develop information most helpful in that regard. Thank you for your kind attention.

    • #29141
      Colin M.

      Hi pinto,

      Thanks for the feedback again.

      In this case, would it be better to give a detailed walkthrough of my experiences with both hospitals and surgeries (or my most recent one, since Shouldice may be different these days) instead of evaluating the advantages/disadvantages? If you think that would be beneficial to readers, please let me know!

    • #29142

      Colin, everything flows from purpose. I’m unsure what you want to do. This thread was couched kind of like a strawman debate, which I think you realize that now. What is it that you want to say? When you’ve got that run with it. There are already existing threads that talk about these individual IH methods. Maybe that’s the way: Fit your experience with what was being discussed. I think you would fit right away. 🙂

    • #29143
      Colin M.

      I just thought after experiencing two leading hernia surgeries, I could compare the two.

      A few doctors recommended me to do a mesh surgery before my second hernia operation, saying non-mesh is only for children (which I knew was wrong since Shouldice had many adults, but I couldn’t afford to travel back to Canada from Korea).

      Luckily, I found out about the Kang surgery and had a great experience with that. Because of that, I thought I could compare the two since they seem to be two great non-mesh repair methods and they were both very successful. I also want people to be aware of their options and not almost get tricked like I did into getting a mesh 🙂

      I will search the forums and see where I can contribute. I probably should have done that before starting a new topic. I appreciate your kindness and understanding as I’m a new user here.

    • #29144

      Hi Colin,

      Personally I found your post very interesting, you described your personal experience with the two surgeries, which is what people have been doing here since the very beginning. No one is saying that they are showing scientific results out of one’s experience, for that there are medical articles (which are not submitted to this forum for review as far as I know:)

    • #29146
      Colin M.

      Hi Alephy,

      Thanks for your response. I was a patient who had no medical expertise, and I’d assume most patients don’t. I wouldn’t expect patients to know about the tissues involved such as the cremaster muscle previously mentioned, and I don’t think they would care much about that either.

      I think what prospective patients care most about is if the surgery will be successful, and if they can live a normal life without complications afterwards. Younger patients may care about the surgical site’s appearance as well, as they could be self-conscious about that, as I was when I was a teen.

      I hope my post can help inform some people needing hernia surgery by sharing my story. I think it is especially useful for people living outside of Canada. Had I not searched extensively for Shouldice alternatives, I would not have found out about the Gibbeum hospital in Korea. I was very close to spending thousands more to travel to Canada and get another Shouldice surgery or to take the risk of getting a mesh surgery.

    • #29147


      Thanks for your stories. You truly are part of a very, very small population of folks who has experienced these two different non-mesh varieties.

      How would you describe your lifestyle? Do you do a lot of physical activity? I’m glad both procedures have been successful for you.

      Americans are not used to looking internationally for medical care.

      Take care!

    • #29148

      Almost every post is from personal experience. Personal experience is vital.
      Colin, you wrote, >I just thought after experiencing two leading hernia surgeries, I could compare the two.<
      Of course you can, Colin. But you also were making a claim that X is better than Y, which surely invites discussion. Please recognize that. As I said, your experience can fit in immediately (and variously).

    • #29149

      Colin, did Shouldice use steel suturing? If so were you made aware of it at the time? And if so again, do you ever feel a tinge or something?

    • #29150
      Good intentions

      Thanks for posting Colin. Parents with children would get great value out of your experience with the Shouldice repair. 20 years, and passage through puberty to adulthood, with no problems, is a success and what any parent would want for their child. Even many of the mesh proponents in the community of surgeons recommend against mesh for adolescents, but there are probably thousands of kids who get it anyway.

      And the experience at Gibbeum Hospital is one more verification of a non-mesh option. I have the same question as mitchtom6 about your lifestyle and activities, and also how long it’s been since the Kang repair. Are you a runner or biker, do you play sports, physical labor, etc.?

      Good luck.

    • #29153
      Colin M.


      I’d describe my lifestyle as quite active. I play sports occasionally, and I used to do heavy weightlifting 3 times a week prior to COVID.

      After the Shouldice surgery, I was always worried about lifting heavy due to a fear of causing damage to the surgical site (kind of psychological I guess). However, after some time, I got the courage to start lifting heavy again (eg. 100+ kg bench, squat, deadlift), and I haven’t had any issue.

      Due to COVID lockdowns, I haven’t weightlifted yet after the Kang surgery, but if I ever do, I will report back how it goes. I’d assume it should be fine as well.


      This is the first I’m hearing about steel suturing. My mother also says she can’t recall. But this is a great question because I do indeed occasionally feel an awkward feeling from the Shouldice location every now and then. A “tinge” is a good description of it. It feels almost like something is poking me, like a splinter kind of feeling.

      I had no clue what that feeling is and why it comes every few months and lasts for a couple minutes (sometimes longer). I used to think I had an ingrown hair or something I could just never seem to find, but that didn’t really make sense. But the sensation feels a bit close to the surface of the skin like that. Now that you’ve mentioned steel suturing and a tinge feeling, I guess that might answer that question! You may have just inadvertently solved a 20 year old problem of mine. Thanks!

      @Good intentions:

      It has been 2 months since my Kang repair. I have been playing basketball a bit lately and I have been riding a bike on weekends for the past 3 weeks so far. Currently, I have no issue with the Kang surgery. I know it has been a short time, but I will continue to update if anything arises. Eventually I will get back to weightlifting and see how that goes as well. However, I do some light exercise at home for the time being.

      With the Kang surgery, up until about a month after surgery there has been some burning sensations near the site that were a mild nuisance. These usually happened if I stood or sat in the same position for too long. Dr. Kang also warned me about these uncomfortable feelings that may occur for the first few weeks. However, this no longer occurs and I feel completely normal now. I ride bikes at the same intensity now that I used to without any problem. Running, jumping, etc. during basketball hasn’t been an issue either.

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