PURPOSE: Unlike males, inguinal hernia surgery in females is an uncommon surgical procedure. The efficacy of laparoscopic surgery for female hernia must be proven. This study compared the clinical characteristics of male and female hernia as well as the efficacy of laparoscopic surgery with that of open surgery in female hernia. METHODS: From March 2007 to February 2011, one surgeon (C.S.) at the authors' institution operated on 965 patients (male/female=884/81) who were each more than 19 years old. The female patients were divided into the laparoscopic (n=67, TEP/TAPP=66/1) and open surgery groups (n=14). RESULTS: The mean age of the female patients was lower than that of the male patients. The incidence of bilateral and direct hernia was higher in the male patients but the incidence of femoral hernia was higher in the female patients (0.6 vs. 8.6%, p<0.001). Among the 81 female patients, the mean age of the patients with femoral hernia was higher than that of the patients with other types of hernia (56.4+/-12.5/43.0+/-15.1, p<0.026). The operation times and pain scores of the two groups 7 days after surgery were comparable. CONCLUSION: The findings revealed a higher incidence of femoral hernia in the female patients than male patients. Patients with a femoral hernia were older than those with other types of hernia. Therefore, laparoscopic surgery must be considered for elderly female patients who have a high incidence of femoral hernia.