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Learn What to Expect From Hernia Repair in Children

Prior to Surgery

  • In most cases, babies are admitted to the NICU and placed on a ventilator to help with breathing prior to surgery.
  • Blood samples are taken in case your child needs a blood transfusion.

On the Day of the Surgery
Your baby will have tubes placed in his or her mouth that run to the stomach to keep air from entering the stomach. Throughout the procedure, your baby’s vital signs will be monitored and intravenous lines will deliver nutrition and pain medications.

After Surgery
Your baby will remain in the hospital for several weeks to months, based on his or her overall health.

  • Your baby will be admitted to the NICU for close monitoring. At first, he or she will be on a breathing machine to help with oxygen until he or she is stronger.
  • Your baby will be fed through a feeding tube to encourage bowel movements. Once he or she has recovered enough to be fed by mouth, the feeding tube will be removed.
  • Some infants will have reflux (throwing up of small amounts of food into the esophagus after eating). This can cause discomfort. Your baby’s nurse will teach you how to feed your baby so that this can be avoided.

Recovery: What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks
Babies with strong lungs will recover more quickly. If your baby has other medical issues, he or she will remain in the hospital longer, and recovery may take several months. You must watch your baby closely to make sure he or she is progressing.

Question & Answer


What does the procedure involve?


Under general anesthesia, the pediatric surgeon makes a small incision in the baby’s abdomen, just under the ribs. This gives space to allow the surgeon to gently reposition the organs. This is done by carefully pulling them through the opening in the diaphragm and into the abdomen. Once the organs are placed in the appropriate location, the hole in the diaphragm is repaired and sutured so the organs cannot move out of position.


How many incisions are made?


One incision is made in the chest.


How long will my baby stay in the hospital?


It depends on your baby’s overall health status and if he or she has other medical problems. Most babies stay in the NICU for several weeks to recover.


What is the recovery time?


Babies with strong lungs will recover more quickly. If your baby has other medical issues, he or she will remain in the hospital longer, and it may take several months for recovery. You must watch your baby closely to ensure he or she is progressing.