Search MyHealth

Surgery for Hernias in Children

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Inguinal hernia

Surgery is needed to treat an inguinal hernia. In many cases surgery is done soon after the hernia is found. That’s because the intestine can become stuck in the inguinal canal. When this happens, the blood supply to the intestine can be cut off. The intestine can be damaged.

During hernia surgery, your child will be given anesthesia. A small cut or incision is made in the area of the hernia. The loop of intestine is put back into the abdomen.  The muscles are then stitched together. Sometimes, a piece of mesh material is used. This helps strengthen the area where the muscles are repaired.

Children who have surgery for an inguinal hernia can often go home the same day.

Umbilical hernia

In many cases, an umbilical hernia closes on its own by the time a child is 1 year old.  Almost all umbilical hernias close without surgery by the time a child is 5 years old. Because of this, there are different opinions about when surgery is needed for an umbilical hernia.

In most cases, your child's healthcare provider may suggest surgery if the umbilical hernia:

  • Gets bigger with age
  • Can’t be pushed back into the abdomen
  • Is still there after age 3

Always contact your child's healthcare provider to see what is best for your child.

During surgery for an umbilical hernia, your child will be given anesthesia. A small cut or incision is made in the belly button. The loop of intestine is put back into the abdomen. The muscles are then stitched together. Sometimes a piece of mesh material is used. This helps strengthen the area where the muscles are repaired.

Children who have surgery for an umbilical hernia may be able to go home the same day.