Inguinal Hernia Repair

Under a regional, general or local anaesthetic, a cut is made above the groin close to the hernia and the tissues of the spermatic cord identified.The coverings of the cord are opened, and the contents explored to identify the hernia sac. This is cleared of all other tissues and checked to ensure it is empty. The sac may be tied off and the excess tissue removed. The weakness in the muscle layers is identified and depending on the situation and the surgeon’s preference, some form of repair, often using non-absorbable material is performed. Any bleeding is stopped, and the tissues closed in layers.


These are the commoner risks. There may be other unusual risks that have not been listed here. Please ask you surgeon if you have any general or specific concerns.

There are risks associated with any anaesthetic, you may have side effects from any drugs used.

The commoner side effects include light-headedness, nausea, skin rash and constipation.

Inguinal hernia repair has the following specific risks and limitations:

  • You will have a permanent scar at the operation site, which will fade in time.
  • The wound may become infected with redness, swelling and pain. This may require antibiotics.
  • The hernia may recur, particularly if there has been any infection or an early strain on the wound before the tissues have healed.
  • The material used for the repair may be rejected by the body and have to be removed.
  • You may develop long term pain or discomfort following handling of the sensory nerves or scar tissue in the area.
  • You may have numbness around the operation site that may take months to improve.
  • Rarely, you may bleed during the operation due to damage to nearby blood vessels.
  • Uncommonly, the blood vessels in the spermatic cord clot as a result of the unavoidable handling during the operation. If this happens, you may develop inflammation of the testicle (ischemic orchitis). This means your testicle on that side may swell and become painful, and although the symptoms settle in due course, the testicle may shrink and fail to produce sperm in future.

Some of the above risks are more likely if you smoke, am overweight, diabetic, have high blood pressure or have had previous heart disease.

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