By term inguinal hernia in children we mean permanent or intermitennt translocation of abdominal cavity contents (usually intestines or ovary) into hernia sac. Most of pedaitric inguinal hernias are oblique and congenital, and the hernia sac runs along spermatic cord in boys and Nuck’s ligament in girls. Femoral hernias are much less common, but unfortunately often diagnosed after inguinal exploration, when the hernia persists after surgery.
Symptoms are inntermittent bulging in the inguinal region with characteristic “hubble-bubble” on palpation. If intestine is caught in the sac it gets occluded (we call it incarcerated hernia), swells and after some hours necrosis of the intestine can occur. This can be unfortunate first manifestation of hernia or happend after many years of hosting “free” hernia. Probability of incarcaration during lifetime and simple discomfort are the reason for surgical repair. In should be done in childhood – these patients tolerate the surgery perfectly, results are very good and no implants (mesh grafts) are needed.
The surgery should be performed as “one day surgery” – total stay 3-4 hours. Combination of local and shallow general anesthesia allow safe quick dismissal. Only exeption are children with general health problems like cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmias, after some cardiac surgery, some pulmonary problems and metabolic diseases. We try to avoid anesthesia before 3 months of life.
Details of the procedure are described on page Surgery.
Information for parents about hydrocoele and hernia can be found on official webpage of European Society of Pediatric Urology here.