Over 10 years one senior consultant surgeon performed 114 standard plication darn herniorraphies on 92 patients with primary inguinal hernias. These patients were contacted and were reviewed if there was any suspicion of recurrence. Four recurrences were detected, giving an overall recurrence rate of about 3.5%. According to actuarial life-table analysis the risks of recurrence at 1 year, 5 years and 10 years were 0.94%, 3.02% and 9%. This level of recurrence is unacceptable in modern practice and, as a result of the audit, the surgeon changed his technique of primary inguinal hernia repair.