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Pediatric Hernia Repair - Repair of Hernias in Children

pediatric hernia repair Los Angeles

Hernias in children are usually present at birth

While it might be scary to discover a lump on your baby’s abdomen or groin, it’s not uncommon: both boys and girls are born every day with a hernia. It just means that a portion of the abdominal wall has not closed completely before birth. The lump that you see is usually a part of your baby’s intestine that has slipped through the hole in abdominal wall, creating a bulge.

It will take a surgical procedure to fix your baby’s hernia, but the expert pediatric surgeon at Hernia Center Los Angeles, Doctor Steven Chen, can perform the procedure quickly (usually, only about 40 minutes for a single hernia). Dr. Chen’s pediatric hernia surgery should result in a complete hernia repair, with a less than 1% chance of failure.

How will I know if my child has a hernia?

While a hernia in an infant is present at birth, it may not become obvious right away. Parents usually notice a hernia as a lump or swelling in the abdomen, groin or thigh. It may increase and decrease in size as the child cries, eats or sleeps.

If you or your pediatrician notice a lump and suspect a hernia, it would be a good idea to call us promptly. The hernia is a birth defect that should undergo a pediatric hernia repair as soon as possible, to ensure that your child’s continued growth is normal and healthy.

What types of hernias do children have?

Almost all hernias in children are present at birth. Unlike adult hernias, which can be caused by straining or pressure on the abdominal walls (called “direct hernias”), children’s hernias are caused by the failure of the abdominal wall to completely close before birth. This is called an “indirect hernia.”

An indirect hernia can be present almost anywhere in the abdomen, but most commonly appears as a groin or inguinal hernia, or as an umbilical hernia (behind the belly button). Babies will also sometimes be born with an epigastric hernia (usually above the belly button, near the midline of the abdomen) or a femoral hernia (pressing downwards, into the thigh).

Won’t a baby’s hernia just heal itself after a while?

The answer is no: hernias can’t heal on their own, even if the hole is held or pressed shut. The reason is that the tissue that covers the edges of the hole is comprised of epidermal cells: the same sort of cells that make up the skin. Just as simply pressing your fingers together won’t cause them to grow together over time, pressing the tissues of the hernia sac together won’t cause it to close. It takes a pediatric hernia surgery to close your baby's hernia, regardless of how it is caused.

When should my child get a pediatric hernia surgery?

You should consult a pediatric hernia surgeon as soon as you suspect that your child has a hernia. While it is possible for the hernia to remain and cause no problems for your child, there is also the danger that as your child grows, a portion of the intestine could become trapped in the hernia opening. Tissues trapped like this die quickly, causing a bowel obstruction.

If that happens, it could be dangerous and even life-threatening. The ensuing surgery would need to be done in a hospital, and is likely to be much more invasive and painful than early surgery to correct the uncomplicated hernia.

With some umbilical hernias, your doctor may advise you to wait for a few months to see if the hernia reduces or enlarges. But for other types of pediatric hernias, your doctor is more likely to say that it is wiser to have the surgery as soon as possible.

What to expect when I bring my child in for a pediatric hernia surgery?

Hernia Center Los Angeles is a calm, safe and pleasant environment for your child’s hernia surgery. Board-certified Pediatric Surgeon Steve Chen has performed thousands of successful pediatric hernia repair surgeries on children, from babies to teen-agers. Aided by our professional staff, he will make sure that your child’s hernia is repaired rapidly.

Your child will be in surgery for a short time, usually under an hour. The procedure itself is usually very simple. The intestine is placed into its correct location, the hole is closed with sutures, and the tissues grow back together as the child grows. When Dr. Chen repairs an inguinal hernia in a child, he will always examine the other side laparoscopically to make sure that there is no defect on that side as well.

You can wait for your child in our comfortable and private waiting lounge, with coffee wifi, or you can step outside to our courtyard. As soon as your child is out of surgery, we will let you know. You can wait with your child while he or she wakes up. As soon as everything is checked out, you can take your child home, with detailed instructions and numbers to call if you need help or think there is a problem. We want to make sure that you and your child have a successful surgical experience.

Find out about your pediatric hernia surgery options today

If your child has a hernia, don’t wait. Have it repaired on your own schedule, in the comfortable surgical facilities at Hernia Center Los Angeles. You don’t want to let it turn into an emergency situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with the best pediatric hernia repair Los Angeles has available.