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Ventral Hernia Repair in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

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

What will happen during a ventral hernia repair?

  • Your child will be given general anesthesia to keep him or her asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your child's healthcare provider will make one incision over the hernia. The provider may instead make 2 to 4 smaller incisions at different places on your child's abdomen. A laparoscope and other instruments may be used 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 child's 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 or her abdominal wall again. Your child's provider may close the incisions with stitches, medical glue, or strips of medical tape. A small pressure bandage may be placed over the incision.

What will happen after a ventral hernia repair?

Healthcare 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. 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. Your child 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 may need to be removed. 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 or she 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.