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Call (608) 263-6420

Inguinal Hernia Surgery

Preparing Your Child for Surgery

Inguinal Hernia Surgery

Monday-Friday
8am-4:30pm
 
(608) 263-6420
 
After Hours, Holidays and Weekends
 
(608) 262-2122
(800) 323-8942
 
Tell the paging operator your surgeon's name and ask to speak to the doctor on call.
 
The following information will help you prepare you and your child for inguinal hernia surgery at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.
 
You may have already received the information below during your child's pre-operative appointments. If you were already given the following printed information, the links on the left side of this page include more information to help you prepare.
 
If you have any questions, please contact us using the information in the right column of this page.
 
What is an inguinal hernia?
 
When a baby boy is growing in the womb, the testicles first grow in his abdomen. As the baby develops, the testicles travel down a tunnel into the scrotum. (In little girls, this tunnel also exists.) Occasionally, this opening (called a processus vaginalis) does not close, leaving an opening from the abdomen into the inguinal canal, where a piece of bowel or an ovary can get trapped.
 
Who gets inguinal hernias?
 
Inguinal hernias are more common in boys and in premature infants.
 
How is the decision made that surgery is needed?
 
You or your primary care provider may have noticed a bulge in the inguinal area (just below the crease in the abdomen). This is bowel or an ovary in the inguinal canal. Once a hernia is noticed, an operation is generally scheduled as soon as possible. This is to prevent the bowel or ovary in the inguinal canal from becoming trapped or incarcerated (strangulated). An incarcerated hernia is an emergency.
 
What can I expect from surgery?
 
An incision will be made in the inguinal crease, the bowel or ovary will be replaced in the abdomen and the opening from the abdomen will be closed. The surgeon may recommend checking the opposite side for a hernia because it is common to have a hernia on both sides. Blood work is not usually necessary and may be needed only if your child has other medical problems.
 
When will my child be able to go home?
 
Your child goes to the hospital on the day of surgery and then goes home a few hours after s/he recovers. If your child has a medical condition or is a premature infant an overnight stay may be required for your child’s safety.
 
How much time should I plan off work?
 
Plan on a total of 3 days off work including the surgical day. This will allow for 2 quiet days after the operation.
 
What are the long term consequences?
 
There are few serious long term consequences after hernia repair surgery. Most children recover quickly without any complications. The most common complications are infection, recurrence and bleeding. These complications occur in less than 1% of children. Hernia repair surgery will not affect your child’s growth and development.
 
INGUINAL HERNIA REPAIR
 
The doctor has discussed with you the need for your child to have an umbilical hernia repair.
 
This information reviews day of surgery information and the post op recovery period. If you have any questions regarding this information or any questions related to the surgery, please contact our office at any time:
 
(608) 263-6420, Option 1  
 
Tips for the day of surgery - what to bring
  • Bring your child’s favorite comfort things; blankets, stuffed animal, small toys, etc.
  • A variety of favorite toys, music tapes, or books to encourage quiet time.
  • Snacks or money to buy yourself a meal.
It is best to make arrangements for siblings to stay at home on the day of surgery in order for you to participate fully in your child's care.
 
When will my child be able to go home?
 
Your child should be able to go home the same day as surgery unless otherwise specified by the doctor.
 
What care is needed at home after surgery?
 
* Care of the incision:
There will be an incision in the inguinal skin crease. Reinforced sticky bandages (Steristrips) may be applied. You may see bruising and swelling at the incisional site for 3-5 days after surgery. Boys may also experience scrotal swelling or bruising.
 
* Bathing:
Your child can take a shower 24 hours after surgery and can bathe, swim (in pool or a lake) 1 week after surgery. The doctors will tell you if there are any more restrictions to showering/bathing/swimming.
 
* Activity:
Your child should be out of bed and walking around after surgery. Your child can participate in activities when he or she is comfortable doing so. If something causes pain, your child should not do this activity and wait a few days before trying again. The doctor will tell you if there are any other restrictions you should follow.
 
* Diet:
After a general anesthetic, your child may have nausea and/or not have a good appetite for 24-36 hours. This is normal. You should first give your child clear liquids such as ice chips, popsicles, 7-Up® or Jell-O®. If these fluids stay down and your child would like to try something else, offer food such as soda crackers, graham crackers, and toast. These foods are easy to digest. Most children are able to eat normal food without problems the day after surgery. Give frequent small amounts of clear liquids (juice, soda, and sugar water). Your child can eat any foods that are appropriate for age.
 
* Pain:
Most children will need some pain medicine for a few days after coming home. Often acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®) is enough to control the pain and soreness.
 
* Toileting:
If your child wears diapers, fold them down and away from the incision. Change the diapers often. Disposable diapers may keep the area dryer. If the incision becomes soiled with urine or stool, gently sponge with soap and plain tap water.
 
Constipation is common after surgery. Anesthesia and pain medicine can contribute to constipation. Give your child plenty of clear liquids after surgery. Call the office if your child goes longer than 48 hours without a bowel movement.
 
When to Call the Doctor
  • Nausea lasting more than 24 hours
  • Vomiting more than 3 times
  • Redness, warmth, drainage, or excess swelling at incision site
  • Pus-like drainage or excess bleeding
  • Rapid or excess bruising. Some bruising is normal.
  • Temperature greater than 101°F, taken under the arm for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart
  • Increased or different abdominal pain that is not controlled by medication
  • Excess swelling of the scrotum (some swelling and discoloration is common)
  • Your child is peeing very little and not drinking enough fluids
When do I have a follow up appointment?
 
Your child will be scheduled for a follow up appointment 2-4 weeks after surgery with your child's surgeon or nurse practitioner. Approximately 2 weeks after surgery, our nursing staff will call you to see how your child is recovering after surgery. If your child is doing well at that time, the follow up appointment can be cancelled.
 
 
Phone Numbers
 
Pediatric Specialty Clinic
Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm
( 608) 263-6420
 
After hours, holidays and weekends, call (608) 262-2122 and ask for the Pediatric Surgery Resident on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
 
Toll-Free:
(800) 323-8942
This will give you the paging operator.