What is umbilical hernia repair?
Umbilical hernia repair is surgery to fix an umbilical hernia. This type of hernia is a bulge under the skin near the belly button (navel). It can happen when the intestines or other tissues push through a weak spot in the belly muscles.
Your child will be asleep during the surgery. The doctor makes a small cut near the belly button. Then the doctor pushes the hernia back inside the belly and fixes the weak spot in the belly muscles. The cut is closed with stitches or glue. After surgery, your child will have a small scar on the belly. It will fade with time.
Most children go home the same day as their surgery. Your child will probably be able to go back to school or most normal activities, like walking or playing with toys, in 1 or 2 days.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- Talk to your child about the surgery. Tell your child that it will fix the bump on your child's belly. Hospitals know how to take care of children. The staff will do all they can to make it easier for your child.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- Tell the doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies your child takes. Some may increase the risk of problems during the surgery. Your doctor will tell you if your child should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- Ask if a special tour of the surgery area and hospital is available. This may make your child feel less nervous about what happens.
- Plan for your child's recovery time. Your child may need more of your time right after the surgery, both for care and for comfort.
The day before surgery
- A nurse may call you (or you may need to call the hospital). This is to confirm the time and date of your child's surgery and answer any questions.
- Remember to follow your doctor's instructions about your child taking or stopping medicines before surgery. This includes over-the-counter medicines.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Follow the instructions exactly about when your child should stop eating and drinking. If you don't, the surgery may be canceled. If the doctor told you to have your child take medicines on the day of surgery, have your child take them with only a sip of water.
Have your child take a bath or shower before you come in. Do not apply lotion or deodorant.
Your child may brush his or her teeth. But tell your child not to swallow any toothpaste or water.
Do not let your child wear contact lenses. Bring your child's glasses or contact lens case.
Be sure your child has something that reminds him or her of home. A special stuffed animal, toy, or blanket may be comforting. For an older child, it might be a book or music.
At the hospital or surgery center
- A parent or legal guardian must accompany your child.
- Your child will be kept comfortable and safe by an anesthesia provider. Your child will be asleep during the surgery.
- The surgery will take about 1 hour.
- After surgery, your child will be taken to the recovery room. As your child wakes up, the recovery room staff will monitor his or her condition. The doctor will talk to you about the surgery.
- You will probably be able to take your child home the same day as the surgery.
Current as of: November 30, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Brad W. Warner MD - Pediatric Surgery