Hernia mesh repair complications

Hernia mesh repair surgery is most often recommended for the patient with an inguinal hernia, which occurs when a portion of intestine pushes through a weak area in the abdomen to create a bulge. Symptoms of a hernia may include pain, particularly during such actions as coughing, lifting heavy objects, or exercising. Although not all hernias are dangerous, repair can help a patient experience less pain. As with all surgical procedures, hernia mesh repair can result in complications, which is why patients should have a good understanding of damage that may occur after surgery.

Tissue Injury

One of the benefits of mesh repair of the hernia is that the surgeon does not have to make many internal incisions, which minimises the need for stitching or cauterisation (use of heat to keep tissues from bleeding). However, injury to the surrounding tissue and organs (such as the intestines, blood vessels, and nerves) may still occur. For this reason, the patient should find a surgeon who has significant experience in hernia repair, particularly hernia mesh repair.

Difficulty Urinating

Because the body is adjusting and healing after hernia repair surgery, patients commonly have difficulty urinating after the procedure. The patient's surgeon may address this problem by inserting a temporary tube that directs to the urinary bladder. After the surgeon determines that sufficient time has passed (based on the patient's condition and recovery), the tube can be removed, and normal urinary function should be restored.


Because the inner cavities of the body are exposed during surgery, patients can experience painful infections following hernia mesh repair. Bacteria can invade the surgical site and cause the body to reject the newly installed mesh. Symptoms of this infection type include redness, swelling at the wound site, fever, and pain. Treatments for these infections include removing the mesh and initiating antibiotics to rid the body of harmful bacteria.

Foreign Body Rejection

Although the synthetic mesh is meant to act as an extension of the body's own tissues by strengthening the area, sometimes the body can reject the mesh after surgery. This rejection can cause several internal reactions, including tissue death, development of scar tissue, or tissue inflammation. In these instances, the mesh is most often removed, and another surgical approach is attempted to repair the hernia.


Whether the hernia grows too big for the mesh to hold or the mesh begins to break down, hernia recurrence is always possible. If a patient begins experiencing hernia symptoms once again, particularly in the same abdominal section, the mesh may not have sufficiently repaired the hernia area. More invasive surgery may be indicated should the hernia recur after mesh repair.

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About the Author

Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.