Inguinal Hernias

California Pediatric Surgical Group

General Surgery & Pediatric Surgery located in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, & Thousand Oaks, CA

Inguinal hernias can develop in children of any age, especially in premature infants. The surgical team at California Pediatric Surgical Group in Santa Maria, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, and two Ventura, California, offices, offers comprehensive surgical care for repairing inguinal and umbilical hernias. The team also uses corrective techniques to address any organ damage caused by hernias. Find out more about the benefits of hernia repair surgery by scheduling a consultation at the California Pediatric Surgical Group office nearest you online or by phone today.

Inguinal Hernias Q&A

What is an inguinal hernia?

An inguinal hernia commonly develops during your baby’s development while still in utero. This type of hernia can develop in girls, but is more common in boys. Before birth, a boy’s testicles initially grow in the abdomen and eventually move down a tunnel into the scrotum. Girls also have this tunnel.

When the opening of the tunnel doesn’t close properly, it can trap pieces of the baby’s bowel or even an ovary. Without treatment, inguinal hernias can cause serious health issues.

In addition to inguinal hernias, babies are also at risk for umbilical hernias. This type of hernia occurs when muscles around the belly button don't close properly, allowing intestines or other nearby structures to pop through.

What are the symptoms of an inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernias can develop before your baby is born, but you may not notice symptoms for several weeks or months after birth. In many cases, a bulge is visible in the scrotum or groin that can appear and disappear. The bulge may also become larger when your child is crying or straining to have a bowel movement.

In some cases, a bulge is noticeable when your baby is relaxed. This indicates that organs or other structures are trapped inside the hernia. In this situation, your child may feel pain or begin vomiting and needs immediate medical attention.

Umbilical hernias present similarly to an inguinal hernia, but the bulge is present around the belly button. Emergency care is necessary if surrounding structures get trapped in the hernia, causing the belly button bulge to stick out, even when your child is relaxed.

How is an inguinal hernia treated?

Treating inguinal hernias in children involves surgery to close the tunnel. In emergency situations, your child may need immediate surgery.

If the inguinal or umbilical hernia is not entrapping inner organs or causing your child pain, the California Pediatric Surgical Group surgical team may recommend waiting until your child is older before repairing the hernia. The surgeons can determine the right time for hernia surgery based on your child’s age, overall health, and complexity of the hernia.

The surgeons at California Pediatric Surgical Group repair hernias through a small incision near the bulge. They reposition surrounding organs and tissue into place and close the tunnel with sutures. If any entrapment of the bowel or other organs occurs, the surgeons ensure blood flow isn’t interrupted and there’s no organ damage before completing surgery.

If you need a surgical consultation for an inguinal or umbilical hernia, call the California Pediatric Surgical Group office nearest you or request an appointment online today.

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