Inguinal Hernia and Hydrocele in Children

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If a child has a hernia, a section of his intestine has protruded through a weakness in his abdominal muscles.

Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias occur:

  • in about one to three percent of all children
  • more often in premature infants
  • in boys much more frequently than in girls
  • more often in the right groin area than the left

A hydrocele is a collection of fluid in the scrotum around the testicle.

  • Hydroceles aren’t harmful to the testicles in any way.
  • They don’t cause discomfort.
  • They are sometimes present at birth or may develop later.
  • They can occur on one or both sides of the scrotum.
  • The fluid typically makes the scrotum look large.

Is surgery necessary?

If your child has an inguinal hernia, our surgeons can probably correct it using a relatively simple procedure; your child will most likely be able to go home the same day that she has the surgery.

Hydroceles usually go away on their own and no treatment is typically needed. If the hydrocele has not disappeared by the time your child is age 1 or it becomes very large, your child may need a simple surgery to remove it.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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