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, which happens in 22% of cases at
three months and 45% of cases by almost two years.
- 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: Approximately 7% of 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)
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