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Possible complications with hernia surgery

Diagnosed with a hernia? Looking to undergo surgery for it? But unaware about the possible complications associated with the hernia surgery? Well! Here is a complete guide about hernia, its surgery and risks/complications associated with it.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a bulge or protrusion of organs or tissues in the abdomen, groin, or upper thigh regions. It results due to a combination of the weakened muscular wall of the abdomen and strain applied in that area resulting in the protruded mass of tissue.

Based on the type and location of the hernia, it is classified into various types. Most common causes of hernia include abdominal surgery, advanced age, pregnancy, persistent coughing, chronic constipation, and pregnancies (usually multiple pregnancies).


There are a few common symptoms that occur to help identify hernia:

  • Pain on coughing, sneezing, or lifting objects
  • Pain or burning sensation near the lump
  • Lump in the groin or abdominal region.
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain

Hernia surgery and associated complications

It is better to get your hernia treated as soon as possible. On noticing one or more symptoms, you must visit your doctor.  Some initial treatment strategies include lifestyle changes and medication.  However, surgery is considered to be the best treatment to get rid of hernia.

The surgeries for hernia are either open hernia surgery or laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is often preferred over other conventional methods as it is a minimally invasive technique, considerably less post-operative pain, less or no damage to the adjacent tissues, reduces the chance of recurrence with fewer complications. 

Complications that may arise during Hernia Surgery

There are various complications that may arise after hernia surgery. Here’s a heads-up for things that may happen, based on the type of hernia and why it does occur:

  • Infection – Infections are quite common as a complication for any surgery, including hernia repair surgery, especially if the hernia was strangulated. Infections can also develop from the mesh that is left inside your body to secure your hernia repair.
  • Hernia recurrence – There is always the possibility of hernia recurring, especially if the weakened area has not healed properly after the surgery. The chances of hernia recurrence also increases with age, and doing heavy-lifting exercise or due to obesity and strain on the area during pregnancy.
  • Seroma – Fluid can form at the site of the hernia surgery post-operatively when mesh repair is used. This occurs mostly when a significant amount of tissues are removed during surgery. To fill the void of the tissues sometimes, seroma or fluid is accumulated near the site causing pain and discomfort.
  • Pain – Pain after surgery is common for most people in the abdominal region. However, some people experience long term pain which does not subside with time.
  • Lung infection, breathing difficulties, pneumonia, or blood clot – Bruising occurs post-operatively at times, but the chances of blood clots are low. Moving around after the surgery, after the time period that the doctor suggests, reduces the risks of blood clots, lung infections and pneumonia. 
  • Constipation – For many people undergoing hernia surgery,  the first bowel movement may occur 10 days after hernia surgery. It is normal only if it is not combined with pain in the abdomen or nausea.
  • Urine leakage/incontinence, urinary tract infection – This can be caused by the residual mesh in the body that may injure the bladder. 
  • Mesh pain – Mesh placed at the site of the hernia repair to secure it has a common side effect of pain. 
  • Fistula, opening between two organs, scarring – The main cause of these is if your surgeon is not experienced. There may have arisen a complication during the operation and they did not know how to handle it. This is why opting for an experienced surgeon is better. 

If a hernia is left untreated, it will grow in size, form a larger bulge and cause consistent pain and discomfort. Visit your doctor immediately and do not leave your hernia unattended. 


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