Embryology-The processus vaginalis is an outpouching of the peritoneum that appears between the 12th and 14th weeks of gestation.  Later in gestation as the testis descends through the internal ring into the inguinal canal and into the scrotum it carries the processus along with it.


The distal portion of the processus and therefore the potential for inguinal hernia is present in 80% of neonates. In most, the processus remains widely patent to the peritoneal cavity, herniation of intraabdominal contents will eventually occur.  If the processus obliterates proximally but not distally, a hydrocele results.  In some cases only a small channel remains through the processus and a communicating hydrocele results

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