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Umbilical Hernia Repair in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 4, 2022.

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 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 healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare your child for surgery. He may tell you not to let him eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of his surgery. He may instead tell you that he can have clear liquids until 2 hours before his surgery. You may breastfeed your child up to 4 hours before surgery. He will tell you what medicines your child should or should not take on the day of his surgery. Your child may be given an antibiotic through his 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 asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your child's healthcare provider will make one small incision near his hernia. Tools are used to remove the hernia sac that may contain your child's intestines or abdominal tissue. Next, your healthcare provider 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 belly button again. Your child's healthcare provider may close the incision in his skin with stitches, medical glue, or strips of medical tape. He may also place a small pressure bandage over the incision.

What will happen after an umbilical hernia repair?

Healthcare providers will monitor your child until he is awake. He may be able to go home when his pain is controlled and he can drink liquids.

What are the risks of an umbilical hernia repair?

Your child's intestine may be injured during the surgery. He 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 may need treatment to remove it. Your child's umbilical hernia may return, or he may develop a hernia in a different location.

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Further information

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