An inguinal hernia is a condition characterized by part of the small intestine or intra-abdominal fat protruding through a weak area in the muscles of the lower abdomen. They occur in the body between the abdomen and groin. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, inguinal hernias tend to grow larger with time and are more common in men than in women. Direct inguinal hernias are caused by degeneration of the tissue in the abdominal muscles and can worsen with pressure resulting from lifting heavy objects, sudden twists or pulls, being overweight and straining due to constipation. Indirect inguinal hernias are congenital. During inguinal hernia surgery, the protruding tissue is pushed back in, and the weak area of the lower abdomen muscles is strengthened with stitches or mesh.
Surgery to repair an inguinal hernia can have bleeding as a complication. The bleeding occurs inside the incision. The bleeding can cause the skin around the incision to become discolored with a bluish tint. There can also be severe swelling. Additional surgery may be required to stop the bleeding.
Infection is another potential complication if inguinal hernia surgery. The risk of infection is greater for older patients and patients undergoing surgeries that are more complex. Infection can result in swelling, redness and tenderness around the site of the incision.
After repair, the inguinal hernia can return. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this is the most common complication of inguinal hernia surgery.
There can be injury to internal organs as a result of inguinal hernia surgery. This is a rare complication. The injury can be to the bladder, kidneys or intestine. There can also be injury to blood vessels and nerves. An injury may require additional surgery.
Inguinal hernia surgery can result in a scar that is painful. The pain associated with the scar is sharp and can have a tingling sensation. The pain typically ebbs with time.
Complications can occur as a result of the anesthesia used during inguinal hernia surgery. These complications typically occur with patients who are older or who have medical conditions. These complications include urinary retention, sore throat, headaches, nausea and vomiting.