A hernia occurs when a weak spot in the belly muscles allows a piece of the intestines or the tissue around them to poke through. This can cause pain. It may hurt when your child strains with a bowel movement or lifts something heavy. It may be painful to be physically active. But in many cases, a hernia does not hurt. Sometimes an organ or tissue gets stuck in the hernia. This can cause serious problems. A hernia repair prevents that from happening.
The hernia may occur in the groin. Or it may be near the belly button. In some cases, it may be in a scar from an earlier surgery. A doctor can fix a hernia through a cut (incision) made near it. This is called open surgery. Or the doctor may make some small cuts and use a thin, lighted scope and small tools. This is laparoscopic surgery. If your child's hernia is bulging, the bulge is pushed back into place. The doctor then sews the healthy tissue back together. Sometimes a piece of material is used to patch the weak spot.
Open surgery will leave a longer scar. Laparoscopic surgery leaves a few small scars. The scars will fade with time.
Your child will probably need to take 1 to 2 weeks off from normal activity.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Surgery can be stressful both for your child and for you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.
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Current as of: August 9, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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