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Call (608) 263-6420

Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Preparing Your Child for Surgery

Umbilical 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 umbilical 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 umbilical hernia?
 
An umbilical hernia occurs when bowel protrudes through an opening in the abdominal wall into the umbilicus (belly button). Most umbilical hernias do not require surgery because they go away by themselves. It is normal for the bulge to get larger before the hole closes.
 
Who gets umbilical hernias?
 
Any child can be born with an umbilical hernia. They are more common in African American children.
 
How is an umbilical hernia diagnosed?
 
An umbilical hernia is diagnosed by physical exam. No special tests or procedures are required.
 
How is the decision made that surgery is needed?
 
The decision to have an umbilical hernia repaired is usually made before the child enters kindergarten. This will ensure that the hernia is repaired without missing school. This decision is made through discussion between the parent and surgeon.
 
What can I expect from surgery?
 
A small incision is made in the belly button and the abdominal opening is closed. 
 
When will my child be able to go home?  
 
Most children go home the same day of surgery. If your child has a medical condition he may stay overnight in the hospital for his safety.
 
How much time should I plan off work?
 
Plan on a total of 3-5 days off work including the surgical day. This will allow for 2 quiet days after the operation.
 
What are the long term consequences?
 
The most common complications related to this surgery are bleeding and infection.Complications occur in less that 1% of the population. There is no effect on growth and development.   
 
 
UMBILICAL 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 a small incision at the umbilicus. Reinforced sticky bandages (Steristrips) may be applied. You may see bruising and swelling at the incisional site for 3-5 days after surgery. 
 
* 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 they are comfortable doing so. If something causes pain, they 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
  • Child is not drinking or is peeing very little
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.