Complications After Hernia Surgery

Medical Team Meeting With Senior Man In Hospital Room
Patient recovering post operation. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

A hernia develops when a portion of the intestine protrudes through a weakened section of the abdominal wall, belly button or groin. If the hernia can't be reduced or pushed back into the abdomen in a doctor's office, an affected patient may require hernia surgery. Patients should discuss the potential complications after hernia surgery with a doctor prior to surgery.

Internal Organ Damage

During hernia surgery, the organs that surround the hernia, such as the intestine, can be accidentally damaged. Internal organ damage primarily involves complications related to bowel movements or urination. Men who undergo hernia repair may also sustain an injury to the vas deferens, a tube that transports sperm from the testes to the urethra, a narrow passageway through the penis, during ejaculation, New York University School of Medicine reports. These complications are typically mild and resolve without additional medical intervention. Extensive internal organ damage may be repaired immediately if detected during hernia surgery, or may require additional surgery if discovered after hernia surgery.

Pain or Numbness

Certain patients develop unusual sensations of pain or numbness within the groin area as a complication after hernia surgery, John Muir Health explains. Such complications can require additional or more extensive hernia repair surgery in affected patients.

Difficulty Urinating

Urinary tract injury can cause urination difficulties after hernia surgery. Patients can have difficulty initiating urination or may have trouble fully emptying the bladder. These complications after hernia surgery are typically temporary and can be managed through the use of a catheter to help drain excess waste from the bladder.

Bleeding or Infection

Hernia surgery can increase a patient's risk of developing bleeding or infection complications after having this procedure performed, the Baylor College of Medicine warns. Infection complications can include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills or drainage from the incision site. Increased pain can also be a sign of infection complications in certain patients after hernia surgery. Patients who experience infection symptoms after hernia surgery may require additional antibiotic medication to resolve the infection.

Excessive bleeding complications are rare but affected patients require immediate medical attention to address the cause of bleeding. Rarely, a patient who experiences bleeding complications after hernia surgery may need a blood transfusion to restore normal blood levels in the body.

Hernia Recurrence

Depending upon the type of hernia surgery performed, certain patients are at an increased risk of experiencing hernia recurrence as a complication after hernia repair, the NYU School of Medicine reports. The recurrent hernia can appear at the abdominal incision site used to repair the initial hernia. Hernia recurrence complications can require additional hernia surgery in certain instances.

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