Even though hernia repair surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures, it does not come without potential complications. There are two steps you can take to lower your risk. One, choose an expert and experienced surgeon who has done the operation thousands of times, like Dr. William Brown. Two, understand what the complications are so you can identify them and let your doctor know immediately should you experience one or more of them.
Complications Associated with General Anesthesia
Repairing an inguinal hernia without mesh is an outpatient surgery, yet it does require anesthesia. Any time anesthesia is involved, there are risks for complications. Your doctor will discuss your medical history with you and assess any risks or complications based on your history. To accurately assess potential complications, your doctor must know about any past surgeries, existing medical conditions and allergies.
The most common complications are short-lived, including waking up agitated, vomiting, nausea, sore throat and/or headache.
Bleeding Inside the Incision
Your surgeon makes an incision to repair the hernia. Occasionally there will be hemorrhage after the operation. Most of the time it results in some bruising of the skin after the operation. But occasionally there is enough bleeding that the incision has to be re-opened and the cause of the bleeding stopped. Typically, significant bleeding at the hernia repair incision site causes noticeable swelling and a blue discoloration near or around the incision. Immediately report to your surgeon any signs of bleeding.
Infection at the Hernia Repair Site
Even small incisions, like those made to repair inguinal hernias without mesh, are at risk for infection. Fortunately, infection rates with this surgery is very low. Signs of infection include running a fever, discharge from the incision area, and redness, swelling, and pain at the site. If you suspect infection, let your doctor know immediately since antibiotics may be necessary or another small incision to drain the infection.
A Painful Scar
A scar indicates the incision area is healing, but they can be painful for some patients. Pain, numbness and/or tingling are the most common sensations associated with scarring. These generally subside over time, but if they feel excessive or don’t dissipate over time, tell your surgeon.
Another Hernia in the Future
Once you’ve had an inguinal hernia repaired, there is a risk for recurrence later. Recurrence is the most common complication associated with hernias, but there are ways you can avoid it.
Know the signs of complications following your inguinal hernia repair surgery and talk to Dr. Brown if you have any concerns.