Did you know hernia repair is one of the most common types of surgeries done in babies? This can be backed by the fact that almost 1-5% of full-term infants suffer from inguinal hernias while 9-11% of premature infants suffer from the same. Umbilical hernias are common amongst infants who are six months or younger. Let’s have a closer look at how hernias occur in babies and their treatment.
A hernia occurs when an organ moves out from its original place due to the weakening of the tissue surrounding that organ. Inguinal and umbilical hernias are the most common type of hernia that occurs in babies.
Why hernias occur in babies?
Hernias occur in babies due to a defect during their childbirth. When a baby is born, there are various small openings in the body that eventually close at some point. The tissue around the opening can press into such openings and cause a hernia.
Types of hernias occurring in babies-
New parents tend to get anxious when they see their infants crying or see a bulge in any part of the body. The herniated tissues may protrude only during moments of pressure or strain. Don’t be scared if you see a bulge when the infant is crying, coughing, or straining. These tend to retract on its own and go away at other times. A doctor usually frees the trapped tissues by gently squeezing the lump and forcing it back into the opening. Doctors recommend surgery within a few days to prevent the occurrence of another hernia.
An inguinal hernia occurs in the groin area of the babies. These occur in babies because there is a weakening of muscles in the groin after a few months after its birth.
An infant is more likely to occur in an infant if it has one or more of the following risk factors-
- Undescended testes in males
- Abnormalities of the urethra
- Who have a family history of inguinal hernias
The symptoms for an inguinal hernia which parents should look out for are-
- A full, round abdomen
Babies are sometimes born with a weakness or opening into the abdomen muscles around the belly button. In this opening, the surrounding tissue can protrude and cause a hernia. This hernia is not at all dangerous for absolutely newborn babies. This type of hernia rarely causes any strangulation.
This kind of hernia causes no discomfort. Generally, the doctor can just push it back into its original place or these retract on their own and closes up by the age of 2. If your child is above two years, and the hernia continues to grow in size then you should take him to the pediatrician.
After proper diagnosis, the doctor recommends surgery so that the tissue is not strangulated. Depending on your child’s age, overall health, hernia type and obviously your preference, the doctor go for treatment. The surgery can be done both using open surgery and laparoscopic technique. The advantage of a laparoscopic method is that it can be performed in all age groups, including premature babies. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis which means you can take your child back home on the same day of the surgery.
Make sure you feed your child a regular diet after the surgery. The recovery period depends on the child’s physical health. Most children resume activities like playing within a week or two. For 2-3 days post-surgery, your child should be restricted from bathing. Laparoscopic procedures are provided by highly-experienced doctors. Talk to our medical coordinator to know more about the hernia.
Also Read: Precautions after inguinal hernia surgery