Paediatric epigastric hernia surgery

Surgery to repair an infant's epigastric hernia

If your child has an epigastric hernia, HCA UK has the expertise and facilities to help.

About an epigastric hernia

An epigastric hernia occurs when fatty tissue pushes through the abdomen, between your child’s navel (belly button) and their sternum (breastbone), creating a lump or swelling. Surgery is an effective treatment option to remove a child’s epigastric hernia.

Need to know

  • What happens during surgery? icon plus

    Your consultant will examine the affected area. If they feel a characteristic lump, they may not need to do any further tests.

    Surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means your child will be asleep. It takes between 30 minutes and an hour to repair the hernia. Your consultant will make a cut over the epigastric hernia to free up the ‘hernial sac’. Intestine or other tissue inside the sac will be carefully pushed back into your abdominal cavity. The excess sac may be tied off or removed.

    The weak spot where the hernia was located will be closed with strong, secure stitches or a patch of synthetic nylon mesh may be used if the hernia was particularly large. A waterproof dressing will be placed over the area.


    The procedure will be carried out as day surgery and your child will be able to go home once they’ve recovered. Occasionally, children need to stay in hospital overnight.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant talk you through the procedure and tell you how to prepare your child for surgery. They will take time to talk you through the risks and side effects involved and answer any questions you may have.
  • After surgery icon plus

    Some bruising, swelling and discomfort in the tummy area is normal after the procedure. Pain relief may be given to help with this in the first 24-48 hours.

    Immediately after surgery, they may feel a bit nauseous. They should be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids but may not feel like eating for a day or two.

    The stitches will dissolve on their own after about two weeks.

    Physical activity is encouraged but your child should avoid ‘rough and tumble’ play.

    It is important to avoid constipation and straining when your child goes to the toilet. Eating plenty of fruit and fibre in their diet and drinking lots of fluids should help.

Our paediatric specialists

We're proud to work with leading paediatric experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex gastric surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment with a paediatric specialist

To request an appointment, call the paediatric unit on the number below. 

020 3918 6525
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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