This is a condition where there is an abnormal connection between the abdominal cavity and the groin. Therefore loops of intestine and other internal organs can escape through this communication. In children these usually need to be repaired fairly urgently as there is a high risk of strangulation where these internal organs can get stuck outside the abdominal cavity causing an emergency. Treatment is quite simple with a day case operation through a tiny incision or with laparoscopy
Typically hernias present as a lump or swelling in the groin. The swelling typically comes and goes. If the hernia gets stuck then it may present acutely as a painful hard lump in the groin, and may be associated with vomiting.
Inguinal hernias in children occur due to the persistence of a communication between the abdominal cavity and the groin which should have closed off after birth. This is called a patent processus vaginalis.
Inguinal hernias in children must be repaired in order to prevent strangulation. The procedure to repair the hernia is called a herniotomy. Under a general anaesthetic, the communication between the abdominal cavity and the groin is tied off and divided. The procedure may be performed using a laparoscopic approach or through a tiny groin incision.
As a general anaesthetic will be required, we will usually provide you with fasting instructions. You will have the opportunity to visit our day case ward if you require and we can also provide access to play therapists in order to help prepare your child for surgery.
Most cases are carried out as a day case so you will be able to take your child home a few hours after surgery. Smaller babies often have to spend one night in hospital.