PURPOSE: The anatomic and physiologic changes after rectal cancer surgery was suggested to be a cause of inguinal hernia. But, there are only few reported cases about the inguinal hernia following rectal cancer surgery. The aim of this study is to verify risk factors and surgical techniques to prevent inguinal hernia following rectal cancer surgery. METHODS: Out of 1226 patients who underwent operations at the Department of Surgery, Asan Medical Center, between the period from June 1989 to July 1999, 12 patients who had developed inguinal hernia and their medical records were reviewed retrospectively regarding the clinical characteristics. RESULTS: The median duration of hernia following rectal cancer surgery was 12 (3-36) months. The median age was 63 (36-74) years with eight of them more than seventh decades of their life. All patients had male sex. Three of them were overweighted. Five cases had hernias on the left side, six on the right, and one case on both side. All patients had indirect inguinal hernia. Three cases had preoperative symptoms of bowel obstruction. The operations for rectal cancer were low anterior resection in eight cases, ultralow anterior resection in three cases, and abdominoperineal resection in one case. The complications in rectal cancer surgery were found in six cases. Six cases had the advanced stage. A postoperative radiation therapy was applied in five cases. Five cases had the coexisting diseases. CONCLUSIONS: Male sex and old age would be related with occuring inguinal hernia after rectal cancer surgery and, it would be necessary to give a special attention to the patients who have these factors, although the present study could not show the definite correlation between inguinal hernia and rectal cancer surgery due to a small number of cases.