A hernia occurs when part of an organ protrudes through a weak point or tear in the thin muscular wall that holds the abdominal organs in place.
Hernia repair may be recommended for:
While the patient is sleepy (sedated) and pain-free (local anesthesia or spinal anesthesia) or deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), an incision is made over the hernia. The bulging tissue or organ is replaced inside the muscle wall, the muscle tissue is repaired, and the skin is closed.
Moving and walking are recommended the day of surgery. Small children require no restrictions following routine hernia repair. Older children should avoid body contact sports for at least 3 weeks. The hernia repair is not at risk, but a blow to the incision could burst the skin closure. Expect complete recovery from surgery in about 2 to 4 weeks. Avoid heavy lifting or straining for several weeks after surgery. Avoid tub baths for at least 5 days after the operation, because soaking will separate the skin tapes and the wound could break open. Sponge bathing for infants and showering for older children are permitted the day after surgery. The wound tapes should be carefully patted dry after showering.
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.