What is it?
An umbilical hernia forms in children when a weak spot in the abdominal wall muscle allows intestines to protrude. In children, umbilical hernias typically heal during development and do not require surgical intervention, but in some cases, surgery is necessary to prevent the complication of strangulation. Strangulation occurs when part of the intestines becomes trapped in a loop in the hernia and restricts blood supply to the intestine, causing the tissue to die. Umbilical hernia surgery is performed by either open or laparoscopic methods to prevent further complications and to repair hernia damage.
How to Prepare
No food or drink should be consumed within eight hours of the scheduled procedure. Longer periods of fasting may be necessary depending on the age of the child. This practice prevents the complication of aspiration during general anesthesia, in which food is expelled from the stomach into the lungs. Certain medications or supplements (such as blood thinners or NSAIDs) should not be taken during the week prior to surgery. All medications and supplements should be discussed with the physician to determine readiness for surgery.
What happens during the procedure?
The surgeon will discuss in detail and give specific instructions. He will explain the surgical procedure to the guardian of the child. During this surgery, children are placed under general anesthesia. A breathing tube may be placed down the child’s throat in order to assist with breathing. During an open procedure, a small incision is made below the belly button which allows the surgeon to reposition the intestines back to the appropriate region. During a laparoscopic procedure, two to three small incisions are made to allow surgical instruments and the laparoscope, a small camera affixed to lighted tube is inserted and the surgeon can see inside the abdominal cavity.
Risks and Complications
* Blood clots
* Injury to the small intestine
* Allergic reaction to anesthesia
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