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Umbilical Hernia Repair in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What do I need to know about an umbilical hernia repair?

An umbilical hernia repair is surgery to fix your child's umbilical (belly button) hernia. An umbilical hernia may be repaired if the hernia is preventing blood flow to your child's organs, blocking his or her intestines, or has failed to close. Surgery is usually an open repair where one small incision is made to fix your child's hernia with stitches.

How do I prepare my child for an umbilical hernia repair?

Your child's healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare your child for surgery. He or she may tell you not to let your child eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of surgery. Your child's provider may instead tell you that your child can have clear liquids until 2 hours before surgery. You may breastfeed your child up to 4 hours before surgery. Your child's provider will tell you what medicines your child should or should not take on the day of surgery. Your child may be given an antibiotic through his or her IV to help prevent a bacterial infection.

What will happen during an umbilical hernia repair?

Your child will be given general anesthesia to keep him or her asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your child's surgeon will make one small incision near the hernia. Tools are used to remove the hernia sac that may contain your child's intestines or abdominal tissue. Next, the surgeon will move your child's intestines or tissue back into their correct place. Strong stitches are used to close the opening in your child's abdominal wall. This may prevent your child's intestines and tissues from bulging through his or her belly button again. The surgeon may close the incision in your child's skin with stitches, medical glue, or strips of medical tape. He or she may also place a small pressure bandage over the incision.

What will happen after an umbilical hernia repair?

Providers will monitor your child until he or she is awake. Your child may be able to go home when his or her pain is controlled and he or she can drink liquids.

What are the risks of an umbilical hernia repair?

Your child's intestine may be injured during the surgery. He or she may bleed more than expected or get an infection. A pocket of fluid may form under your child's skin. This may heal on its own or he or she may need treatment to remove it. Your child's umbilical hernia may return, or he or she may develop a hernia in a different location.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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