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Hernia FAQs (cont.)

What are the risks and complications associated with hernias?

  • Risk of strangulation: In considering when to have a reducible hernia operated on, it is important to know the risk of strangulation.
    • The risk varies with the location and size of the hernia and the length of time it has been present.
    • Inguinal hernias, the most common type of hernia, have been the most intensively studied. For direct and indirect inguinal hernias, the risk of strangulation is 2.8% for the first three months, increasing to 4.5% over two years.
    • Femoral hernias, although rare, are especially prone to strangulation.
    • In general, hernias with large sac contents and a relatively small opening are more likely to become strangulated.
    • Hernias are more likely to become irreducible in the first few weeks than over months or years, but even hernias that have been present for many years may become irreducible.
  • Operative complications: Some people who undergo surgical hernia repair will have complications.
    • These are short-term and usually treatable.
    • The hernia that comes back after initial surgical repair has a greatly increased risk of returning if operated on again.
    • Complications include the following:
      • Recurrence (most common)
      • Inability to urinate
      • Wound infection
      • Fluid build-up in scrotum (called hydrocele formation)
      • Scrotal hematoma (bruise)
      • Testicular damage on the affected side (rare)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/20/2015

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