An inguinal hernia is a common condition that affects many patients both men. women and children. A hernia is where tissue (fat/loops of bowel) move from one area to another through a fascial defect (hole in the muscle). There are a number of different types.
the cause of a hernia can be multifactorial. It can be related to repetitive heavy lifting/straining; previous hernia repair (recurrence); development (congenital – you are born with it)
The aim of hernia surgery is to find the holes (defects) in the muscle and bridge the gap by placing mesh. There are inguinal hernias (indirect and direct); and femoral hernias. Patients can have a combination of all these.
there are general and specific risks to surgery
The specific risks are :
- chronic pain – nerve pain /burning sensation which can be present prior to surgery but can also develop after surgery. Its a rare problem but if ongoing – referral to a pain specialist is required.
- recurrence. this is hernia coming back. rates are 1-2 5 in a 5 year period. This can occur due a number of factors.
- bleeding – this can occur from the muscle or small vessels which ooze. Most bleeding is controlled at surgery. After surgery large blood clots can occur – this may require a return to the operating theatre to control the bleeding; but most of the time; watchful non operative management is the key.
- converting to an open procedure
- strangulation if left untreated.
- injury to the testicular vessels – may lead to ongoing testicular pain and shrinkage/death of the testicle. Very rare- but further surgery may be required.