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Ventral Hernia Repair in Children


What do I need to know about ventral hernia repair?

A ventral hernia repair is surgery to fix your child's abdominal wall hernia. A ventral hernia may be repaired if the hernia is preventing blood flow to your child's organs or blocking his intestines. It is usually done by an open repair. This means that one incision will be made over the hernia to fix it.

How do I prepare my child for a ventral 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 a ventral 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 incision over his hernia. He may instead make 2 to 4 smaller incisions at different places on your child's abdomen. He may use a laparoscope and other instruments to fix the hernia.
  • In both types of hernia repair, tools are used to remove the hernia sac that contains 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 will be used to close the opening in your child's abdominal wall. This may prevent your child's intestines and tissues from bulging through his abdominal wall again. Your child's healthcare provider may close the incisions 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 a ventral 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. Your child may instead need to spend a night in the hospital.

What are the risks of a ventral hernia repair?

Your child's organs, blood vessels, or nerves may get 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. Problems, such as a hole in your child's intestines, may happen during laparoscopic repair that may lead to a laparotomy (open surgery). Even after your child has this surgery, there is a chance that he could have another hernia.

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

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.