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Is bleeding after inguinal hernia surgery normal?

Q: I am a 63 years old male who had three surgeries for inguinal hernia on the left side. One was performed just about two weeks back. About eight days post surgery; I had some oozing of red blood. I got it dressed but it continued daily. Now, it is much less but still has not stopped. The doctor told me that it is due to complications of earlier surgery. The colour of discharge has changed to lighter side. Is bleeding after inguinal hernia surgery normal?

A:After the operation there was probably a small vein that continued to bleed. This forms a collection of blood inside the tissues; this is called a hematoma. Initially the discharge is bloody, but after some time the red cells have all gone away and the residual fluid may come out. This situation is a little more common if there has been a previous surgery, since the operation becomes more difficult. The collected blood or fluid may get infected, causing pain. You should worry if there is significant pain on pressing the tissue. In the case of any doubt, you should consult your surgeon. If the surgeon says wait, then wait. The surgeon may prescribe antibiotics, though more commonly there is no need. If there is the chance of infection, the surgeon will usually remove one or two stitches to let the fluid out completely.

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