Inguinal Hernia | Diagnosis and Treatment

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How are inguinal hernias diagnosed?

Inguinal hernias can be diagnosed by a physical examination by your child's physician. Your child will be examined to determine if the hernia is reducible (can be pushed back into the abdominal cavity) or not. Your child's physician may order abdominal x-rays or ultrasound to examine the intestine more closely, especially if the hernia is no longer reducible.

What are the treatment options for inguinal hernias?

Specific treatment will be determined by your child's physician based on the following:

  • your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • the type of hernia
  • whether the hernia is reducible (can be pushed back into the abdominal cavity) or not
  • your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies

An operation is necessary to treat an inguinal hernia. It will be surgically repaired fairly soon after it is discovered, since the intestine can become stuck in the inguinal canal. When this happens, the blood supply to the intestine can be cut off, and the intestine can become damaged. Inguinal hernia surgery is usually performed before this damage can occur.

During a hernia operation, your child will be placed under anesthesia. A small incision is made in the area of the hernia. The loop of intestine is placed back into the abdominal cavity. The muscles are then stitched together. Sometimes, a piece of meshed material is used to help strengthen the area where the muscles are repaired.

A hernia operation is usually a fairly simple procedure. Children who have an inguinal hernia surgically repaired can often go home the same day they have the operation. 

Once the hernia is closed, either spontaneously or by surgery, it is unlikely it will reoccur.

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