Hernia Surgery Complications

You can get a hernia whenever a piece of fatty tissue, organ, or a part of the intestine passes through a weak point in the abdominal wall. Most hernias occur in the groin, but they can occur anywhere within the abdominal wall. Hernia repairs are especially common surgeries for the management of this condition. There are more than a million hernia repairs, called herniorrhaphies, done each year in the United States. About 80 percent of them are done to fix inguinal hernias. They are generally safe to perform; however, there are possible hernia surgery complications you should know about and pay attention to.

What Are the Surgical Options for Hernia?

There are two types of surgical repairs if you have a hernia. These include the following:

  • Laparoscopic hernia repair. In such cases, several tiny incisions are made in the abdomen, through which a camera, light, and tools for surgery are allowed to pass in order to fix the hernia. This type of surgery may be done with or without a type of mesh to reinforce the surgical site.
  • Open Hernia Repair. In such cases, the surgeon opens the inguinal area near the site of the hernia and repairs the weakened muscles. This can be done with or without mesh to reinforce the herniated area. The surgeon uses this method to fix inguinal hernias if they are small, infected hernias, strangulated hernias, or in infants.

If you have a hernia that results in pain or other uncomfortable symptoms, surgery is needed.

A List of Hernia Surgery Complications

Hernia repairs are generally considered to be very safe. Unfortunately, complications sometimes occur. These include the following:

1.   Longstanding Pain

About 75 out of 1000 cases of hernia surgery have chronic pain as one of the hernia repair complications. If you have laparoscopic hernia repair, the pain after surgery is less and there is less of a chance of having longstanding pain afterward. About 60 of every laparoscopic surgery done will lead to ongoing pain, while 80 out of every 1000 open hernia repairs will lead to ongoing pain.

2.   Hernia Returns

The hernia can come back in 37 out of 1000 hernia repair cases. The rate is higher in men who are older. Laparoscopic repair is usually done after a relapse, so the surgeon doesn't have to go through the first incision. Mesh can be used to prevent a relapse of the hernia.

3.   Retaining Urine

This is one kind of temporary hernia surgery complications, occurring in about 37 of 1000 hernia repair cases. The risk is higher with those who have regional anesthesia or general anesthesia when compared to those who have their repair under local anesthesia. Usually, a catheter is used to treat this complication.

4.   Seroma

This is a buildup of clear fluid at the site of the surgery. It happens in about 30 of 1000 cases done without mesh and slightly more than that in cases done with mesh. These usually go away spontaneously, but it can also be removed by draining the seroma using a sterile syringe and needle.

5.   Injury to Some Other Internal Organ

Only about 1 out of 1000 cases done laparoscopically cause damage to internal structures, such as the bowel, vas deferens, bladder or blood vessels. Injuries to the bladder usually require a bladder catheter until the injury heals, while injury to the bowels involves repair or the insertion of an NG tube to keep food out of the bowels until it heals. If the hernia surgery complication is to the blood vessels, this needs to be surgically repaired.

6.   Infection

Only about 1 to 2 out of a thousand open hernia repairs lead to infection, compared to about 1 out of 1000 cases done with a laparoscope. This risk is increased if you smoke or have a poor immune system. The surgeon usually prescribes antibiotics to treat this type of hernia repair complications.

7.   Hematoma

This is a blood clot or collection of blood near the surgery site or around the scrotum. It happens in 22 out of 1000 hernia repairs done with mesh and in about 70 of 1000 hernia repairs done without using any type of mesh. Usually, rest and elevation can clear up this problem, while, in some cases, a broken blood vessel needs to be fixed with another surgery.

8.   Swelling of the Testicles

This complication of hernia repair occurs in 8 out of 1000 cases that used mesh. Some men also reported a loss of sex drive. It starts 2 to 5 days after hernia repair and can last for several weeks. The doctor will recommend NSAID therapy to reduce the swelling and inflammation.

9.   Hernia at the Laparoscopic Incision Site

There can be another hernia that develops where the surgeon created a hole in the abdomen as part of the laparoscopic repair. This is one of the hernia surgery complications that can be lessened by making smaller incisions and inserting smaller tubes through the incision site.

10.   Nerve Pain at the Hernia Site

This happens in about 74 out of 1000 laparoscopic hernia repairs and slightly more than that in open surgical repairs. It happens because the nerve can get trapped within the incision. It can also be caused by the stitches or staples, or by pressure on the surgical site. If the nerve is trapped, you will feel it right away, and the doctor may have to release the nerve in another surgery.

11.   Breathing or Heart Problems

This is a rare hernia repair complication. It can occur if you have general anesthesia and, if you are worried about that, talk to the surgeon or anesthesiologist about having a different kind of anesthesia.

12.   Death

Deaths are extremely rare after routine hernia surgery. It can happen in cases of complicated surgery or a strangulated hernia. The best prevention is being a nonsmoker and being of a normal weight.

Since there will be some complications listed above, you can click HERE to find what should be done during hernia surgery recovery or watch the video below to learn from other.

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