Hernia Surgical Complications
As in any other surgical procedure complications in hernia repair can happen. It should be emphasized right from the beginning that this procedure is extremely safe and the amount of complications is minimal.
- Pain - Any surgical procedure will result in some pain to the patient. The level or the degree of pain ranges from mild to severe. Usually after hernia repair will control their pain with oral medication. The pain may last from 2 to 6 days and then goes away. Some patients will resume will resume their normal working habits within a day or two and for others it will take longer. At times patients might confuse chronic pain after hernia repair with recurrent hernia. Pain after the repair can last for a while but it does not mean a recurrence. Those patients who suffer from chronic and long lasting pain after the repair should look into the possibility of nerve entrapment. This possibility could be treated with a pain management specialist. In cases that none of the conservative measures help then a surgical intervention could be offered. In this situation expiration of the previous repair can be carried out and any identified sensory nerve can be cut and prevents anymore chronic pain. As a result of this nerve cutting a patient should feel some numbness in that area but not any disabling pain that the patient might have experienced before.
- Infection - This happens in extremely rare cases due to the fact that this procedure is done mostly on an elective basis in a sterile environment. On the other hand incarcerated hernias or those that were neglected for a long time can increase the rate of infection. In rare cases inadvertent perforation of the bowel can happen mainly when the repair is done endoscopically.
- Bleeding - This also can happen on very rare occasions. Some patients will see some bruising signs on their skin but this has no clinical importance to the patient.
- Nerve entrapment - There is a slight possibility that some nerves in the vicinity of the hernia repair will be caught in the mesh or in the sutures. In the hands of an experienced surgeon this should be a very rare possibility. So far in over 20 years of practice Dr. Reisfeld has not encountered this complication.
- Swelling - Immediately after the hernia repair patients may experience swelling around the area of the repair. In the male population the swelling can go down to the base of penis as well as the testicular sack. Again this is temporary and the swelling will go down. At times this area of swelling will be hard to touch between two to four months. This represents an area of scar formation which with time will be softer. Itís not a complication rather a natural process of healing.
- Recurrence - As in any other technical procedure there is a possibility of a hernia to come back. Statistically this can happen in about 1.5% of the cases. Recurrence can happen due to faulty repair, infection or some deficiency in the tissues that the patient has. Obviously obesity, poor nutrition, anemia and other associated illnesses can influence the outcome of the operation.
- Testicular damage - While performing a inguinal hernia repair in the male population on very rare occasions damage to the testicle can happen. This can be due to damage to the blood supply, swelling or simple technical error. Again this is a very rare possibility and usually it happens more when recurrent hernia repair is done. A patient should be aware of this but the likely hood is very rare.