Open and laparoscopic hernia repairs are surgical operations. Therefore, complications such as bleeding and infection can occur. Fortunately, these occur very infrequently.
Other complications include difficulty passing urine after the procedure and delay in the return of bowel function. Urinary retention, which occurs more frequently in older men, is the result of stimulation of nerves to the bladder during the operation. This is usually transient-only lasting a few days-but it occasionally requires a catheter.
Although not necessarily a complication, it is important to realize that occasionally it is necessary to remove a small portion of intestine to repair the hernia. Most commonly, this is because the intestine has been significantly scared by the hernia and we believe there is a risk you will continue to have symptoms after the operation if it is not removed. Alternatively, we may need to remove a small portion of intestine because it is so adhered to the hernia it is impossible to free the intestine from the hernia sac without injuring it. In either case, this is not really a complication but a necessary part of the operation. Since we have more than 30 feet of intestine there is no harm in doing this.