Surgical Complications and Risks in Hernia
Surgery is usually very straightforward. However there can be difficulties in small babies.
In boys the muscle hole is very close to the blood vessels that go to the testicle. The hernia itself can damage these blood vessels especially if it gets stuck before surgery but the surgeon must also be careful to protect the vessels as injury to them can affect growth of the testicle in later life.
There is a small risk of injury to the testicle blood vessel to the testicle that may result in poor growth or even loss of the testicle. This might not be obvious until about one year of age.
Wound infection may occur causing redness and discharge of pus a few days after surgery. Antibiotics may be needed.
Bruising at the site of hernia repair can be quite marked and can cause some swelling in a few babies. It usually resolves in a few days.
In rare cases the hernia may come back and a further operation may then be needed. This can even happen within a day or two of the surgery.
Occasionally the testicle may become higher during the first few years of life and an operation is needed to fix the testicle down.
Although most babies only have a hernia on one side, some have a hernia on both sides at the time of surgery. Some babies who only have one hernia can develop another hernia within the next two years requiring a later operation.