Paediatric umbilical hernia repair

Hernia surgery for young children

Umbilical hernias are common in babies and young children, but can be easily fixed with a straightforward procedure

What is an umbilical hernia in a child?

As your baby's belly button heals, the ring of muscle where the umbilical cord used to be may not completely close over.

A hernia will sometimes appear as a protruding lump at their belly button. This may be especially noticeable when your baby is coughing, crying or straining.

Need to know

  • What happens during surgery? icon plus

    Umbilical hernias usually disappear on their own as your baby's tummy muscles continue to develop. If the hernia is especially large or doesn't go away by the age of two, your consultant may recommend a procedure to repair it.

    This will prevent potential complications as your child gets older. The procedure is done under general anaesthetic, meaning your child will be asleep. Your surgeon will make a small cut at your child's belly button and push the protruding tissue forming the hernia back into place.

    They will also close any weak spots or gaps in your child's tummy muscles with stitches. The procedure usually takes around 30 minutes in theatre.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your child's consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you might have. Because the procedure will be done under general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long your child should avoid eating and drinking before surgery.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • After surgery icon plus

    Your child should be able to return home on the same day as their surgery. Sometimes very young children are cared for in hospital overnight.

    There is likely to be some bruising and swelling or tenderness in the area for about a week following the procedure. Your child's consultant may recommend pain relief medication, including paracetamol or ibuprofen, to help keep your child comfortable.

    Your child's consultant will also let you know when they can get back to their usual routine including school or nursery.

Paying for medical treatment

You don’t need health insurance to have fast access to our top consultants, extensive range of treatments, diagnostic tests and surgical procedures at our world-class facilities.

Find a paediatric hernia consultant

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

Our location

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

Request an appointment with a paediatrician 

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

020 7390 8020
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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