Understanding Pediatric Inguinal Hernia Repair Surgery

Your top priority as a parent is keeping your child safe and free from pain or sickness. So what happens when they develop a condition that puts that at risk? You find the top children’s hospital in Austin to ensure they get the treatment they need to feel healthy again.

If you notice your child has developed a bulge or swelling in their lower belly near their groin area, this points to a condition known as an inguinal hernia

What is a Pediatric Inguinal Hernia?

A pediatric inguinal hernia is a condition in which swelling of the groin area results from a hole that lets contents in the abdomen move into the groin. Inguinal hernias may allow intestines or other organs to pass through.

These types of hernias are not caused by your child lifting something too heavy or straining. Instead, the defect is present at birth, and the straining leads to internal organs moving through the hole into the groin.

Inguinal hernias do not heal on their own and require surgical intervention.

Inguinal Hernias in Girls vs. Boys

Inguinal hernias can affect both infant girls and infant boys, but it is more common in boys. 

While in the womb, your child develops a short tunnel through the abdominal wall. This tunnel should seal off naturally before they’re born; if not, an inguinal hernia can form. The only difference between girls and boys with this condition is where the abdominal cavity connects. 

Inguinal Hernias in Infant Girls

With inguinal hernias in infant girls, the short tunnel connects the abdominal cavity to their labia. If the passage does not close, a pouch – an inguinal hernia – can form within the belly lining.

Inguinal Hernias in Infant Boys

With inguinal hernias in infant boys, the short tunnel connects the abdominal cavity to the scrotum. This tunnel is how their testicles – which grow inside the abdomen before birth – move into the scrotum.

How is an Inguinal Hernia Diagnosed?

Infant inguinal hernias are typically spotted during a routine exam by your child’s pediatrician. A bulge near their groin will be apparent, making it easy to diagnose. If additional testing is needed to confirm, an ultrasound may be performed.

Since nearly all cases of this condition are present at birth and are most common among infant boys, your child’s provider should take extra care to spot an inguinal hernia before it becomes an emergency.

What is the Treatment for Inguinal Hernia?

The treatment for your child’s inguinal hernia is pediatric inguinal hernia repair surgery. Rarely do inguinal hernias cause pain unless the intestines have moved through the open passageway and gotten stuck. If this happens, your child’s bulge will appear firm and red. This will require that your infant undergo an emergency hernia repair surgery.

Why Does Your Child Need Surgical Intervention for an Inguinal Hernia?

Inguinal hernias do not heal on their own. Treatment is necessary because incarceration or strangulation of the hernia is possible and can be extremely painful and dangerous.

“These types of hernias are not typically caused by your child lifting something too heavy or straining. Rather, the defect is present at birth, and the straining leads to internal organs moving through the hole into the groin.

What is the Inguinal Hernia Procedure?

The surgery to fix an inguinal hernia is a straightforward outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour:

  1. Your child’s pediatrician makes a tiny incision in the groin
  2. Any intestines that have shifted down are moved back into the abdomen, and the hernia sac is closed off.
  3. A camera may be inserted to see if a hernia is present on the other side.
  4. The hole is closed with dissolvable sutures, and the wound is covered with Steri-Strips or DERMABOND.

Recovery from infant hernia surgery is quick. Your child can leave the hospital a few hours after the procedure and resume normal activities usually within 2 weeks.

Why Choose Austin Pediatric Surgery for Your Child’s Inguinal Hernia Repair

At Austin Pediatric Surgery, we are highly experienced in the classic open repair as well as laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair and perform scheduled and emergency surgeries.

At our pediatric surgery center, we perform this procedure using a minimal incision and without using mesh or screens whenever possible. During the procedure, a tiny camera may be used to check for any secondary hernias. When the procedure is finished, dissolvable sutures are placed.

Infant Hernia Surgery: Don’t Wait

Because surgery is necessary for your child’s inguinal hernia, you want to choose a pediatric surgeon in Austin you can trust. Call and speak with a member of our team today for more information.

Source: Pexels

My Child Has an Umbilical Hernia. How Worried Should I Be?

What is an Umbilical Hernia?

An umbilical hernia presents as a bulge or protrusion in your infant’s belly button. It is commonly found during the routine doctor’s visits they go to for the first few months of life. While this condition is visually alarming, it isn’t usually cause for concern.

When the umbilical cord is cut, the ring typically closes on its own due to rectus muscle growth and fascial layer fusion. But when the fascia of the ring doesn’t close properly, intraabdominal contents may protrude. This results in a bulge in your child’s belly button.

When your child cries, coughs, or strains to have a bowel movement, umbilical hernias may become more noticeable. However, when your child is quiet and resting, the bulge may diminish. Umbilical hernias do not usually cause pain, which should provide you some relief.

How Common is an Umbilical Hernia?

Umbilical hernias affect boys and girls equally. However, umbilical hernias are most common in premature babies and African-American infants. If your child falls into one (or both) of those categories, it is important to tell your pediatrician about any signs a hernia has developed.

The good news is that 90% of umbilical hernias close on their own by the time a child is 4 to 5 years old. Often, doctors suggest delaying treatment due to a low rate of complications while waiting for the defect to close on its own. The size of the hernial ring is helpful to determine if it will close on its own.

“Umbilical hernias are most common in premature babies and African-American infants. If your child falls into one (or both) of those categories, it is something to keep an eye on and tell their doctor about.”

When Does an Umbilical Hernia Need Treatment?

Although pediatric umbilical hernias are common among healthy infants, they are also associated with specific conditions such as common autosomal trisomies, metabolic disorders, and dysmorphic syndromes. It’s important that your doctor distinguishes whether your baby’s condition warrants further evaluation.

If your infant’s umbilical hernia does not close on its own in their first few years of life, there are signs that will tell you it’s time to seek treatment:

  • The bulge is firm, painful, or discolored or the hernia sticks out and can’t be pushed back into your infant’s abdomen.

– these signs suggests the hernia is stuck and may be an emergency

  • Your baby is over 4-5 years old and the hernia is still present.

What is the Treatment for an Umbilical Hernia?

The treatment for an umbilical hernia is umbilical hernia surgery. Due to how common pediatric umbilical hernias are, surgery is done in a single day. That means you can bring your child home the same day as the procedure. The procedure is performed while your baby is under general anesthesia.

What Happens During Umbilical Hernia Surgery?

The surgery for umbilical hernia is relatively straightforward. First, a small curved incision (resembling a smile) is made under your child’s belly button. Then the opening is closed with absorbable sutures and the overlying skin is closed with a combination of absorbable stitches below the skin and DERMABOND. 

Umbilical Surgery Aftercare

Hernia surgery recovery is simple. Immediately after surgery, your child’s belly button may be slightly swollen, but you can expect this to go away in a few weeks. Refrain from allowing your baby to participate in physical activity for 2-3 weeks post-surgery. Their follow-up appointment should be scheduled for 2-4 weeks after the procedure, when their doctor will evaluate your child’s recovery.

There is a very small risk of recurrence of umbilical hernia once surgery is performed. If you notice that your child’s hernia has reappeared, call your Austin Pediatric Surgeon.

Umbilical Hernia Treatment at Austin Pediatric Surgery

Pediatric umbilical hernias are very common, and a routine surgery will fix the problem. If your child is showing signs of an umbilical hernia, contact  Austin Pediatric Surgery to discuss treatment.  


Image credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich via Pexels.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Child’s Liver and Gallbladder Surgery

If your child has a liver or gallbladder condition, it’s possible that their primary physician may recommend a surgical procedure to fix the issue.

While this is a stressful decision for any parent, Austin Pediatric Surgery is here to put your mind at ease. At our pediatric surgery center, our surgeons specialize in both pediatric liver surgery and pediatric gallbladder surgery.

“At our pediatric surgery center, our surgeons specialize in both pediatric liver surgery and pediatric gallbladder surgery.”

We understand that before your child undergoes any procedure, you’ll have several questions and concerns that arise. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about your child’s liver and gallbladder surgery—but if you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact the medical team at our office.

Common Pediatric Liver and Gallbladder Conditions

There are many different conditions that could require pediatric liver or gallbladder surgery.

The most common liver and gallbladder conditions we see in children are:

  • Liver tumors
  • Biliary atresia
  • Choledochal cysts
  • Cholelithiasis (gallstones)
  • Cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation)
  • Biliary dyskinesia (improperly functioning gallbladder)

Are There Risks to Surgery?

The liver is an important organ that your child needs in order to function and thrive. The gallbladder, though not a vital organ, can cause ongoing pain and if there’s a condition that’s left untreated.

The risks associated with your child’s surgery are dependent upon how invasive the procedure is. At Austin Pediatric Surgery, we focus on performing our procedures with techniques that are as minimally invasive as possible. Because of this, most of our surgeries are low-risk, although you should contact your surgeon immediately if you notice bleeding or infection around the surgical site or if your child develops a fever after surgery.

If your child is in need of an open operation, the recovery time will be longer and there may be more risks associated with surgery. However, we have some of the best pediatric surgeons in Austin on our team, and they will perform your child’s procedure as safely as possible and will let you know of any risks associated with the specific operation.

How Should I Prepare My Child for Surgery?

The best way to help your child prepare for surgery is to comfort them and answer all of their questions in a reassuring way. Let them know that the surgery is for the best and that it will help them feel better. Talk to them about all of the kind doctors and nurses that will be helping them.

The night before surgery, have your child pick out a special stuffed animal or blanket to bring with them. This small thing can provide a lot of comfort to your child during the pre-op and recovery period.

Your child’s pediatric surgeon may  also give you a list of instructions to help you prepare your child for the procedure. Make sure your child gets a bath or shower the night before or the morning of the surgery. Prior to the procedure, a nurse will clean and sanitize your child’s surgical site in the operating room, but bathing beforehand can also help reduce the risk of infection.

You will be told when your child should stop eating and drinking the night before the surgery. It is critical that your child follows these instructions, because the procedure may have to be rescheduled if they do not.

How Long Will Surgery Last?

The amount of time your child spends in the operating room will depend on the type of procedure our surgeons are performing.

With gallbladder surgery, you can expect the procedure to be completed within 1-2 hours. With liver surgery, the procedure can be longer, depending on the severity of your child’s condition and the complexity of the procedure needed in order to fix the condition.

Your child’s surgeon will let you know how long you should expect to be waiting. Once your child wakes from the anesthesia, you will be able to wait with them in the recovery room.

What Will Post-Op Recovery Be Like?

The amount of time it takes your child to recover from surgery will depend on your child’s specific condition and surgery.

With gallbladder surgery, your child will be able to return home in one or two days following the operation. With liver surgery, your child may need to recover in the hospital for a longer period of time, perhaps up to a week.

Your child’s surgeon will let you know how long you should expect your child to stay in inpatient recovery and how you can prepare for their outpatient recovery back at home.

Your Child Is in the Best Hands at Austin Pediatric Surgery

Liver or gallbladder surgery can be scary for both you and your child. Remember that our dedicated and compassionate team of medical professionals is here for you every step along the way. To talk to our doctors about any additional questions you may have,  or to inquire about scheduling your child’s procedure, contact Austin Pediatric Surgery today.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Child’s Skin Surgery

With school and extracurricular activities, most parents have enough on their plate when it comes to their children. But a child in need of skin surgery is enough to make parents stop in their tracks.

At Austin Pediatric Surgery, we’ve performed thousands of pediatric surgeries. We always put the needs of your child first, and we can confidently talk with you about everything you need to know about your child’s skin surgery.

The Importance of Skin Surgery

For the most part, moles, bumps, and acne marks are just part of growing up. However, when moles and other skin marks begin to grow or change in size, it’s time to see the pediatrician.

Let’s talk more about the specific skin issues we treat at our Austin facility.


One of the most common skin conditions we see in children is cysts. We treat dermoid cysts, epidermoid cysts, and pilonidal cysts. We offer an outpatient surgery that is minimally-invasive, and effective. Some cysts, such as pilonidal cysts, may require repeated surgeries to cure the disease.


While lipomas look like cysts, they’re actually different. Lipomas are fatty lumps growing between skin and muscle, whereas cysts are sacs that are filled with various tissues, cells, and fluids. These can be easily removed with outpatient surgery.

Skin Tags

Are skin tags harmful? Not exactly. But as your child runs, jumps, and plays, the last thing they need to worry about are skin tags. They can get caught on clothing and jewelry, and cause unnecessary irritation. The good news is that we can sometimes remove them in our office, and they are not likely to grow back.

Understanding Risks of Skin Surgery

While the risks associated with most of these procedures are minimal, it’s still important to be aware of them. Skin surgery can result in increased skin sensitivity, as well as redness around the affected areas. Nerve damage of varying degrees is also a potential complication of skin surgery, which is why it’s so important to keep in touch with your pediatric surgeon.

Our experienced medical staff conducts pediatric surgery with a full awareness of these risks. Your surgeon will ensure your child’s procedure is completed in a safe environment with a full surgical team in place.

What to Expect at Your Child’s Skin Surgery

Skin surgeries are designed to take as little time as possible. Not all surgical procedures require general anesthesia. Some procedures are performed with local anesthesia only, which is limited to numbing in the surgical area. Some children describe a local injection of anesthesia as a cold sensation or a slight burning sensation, but both go away quickly.

For skin procedures that involve general anesthesia, an anesthesiologist is in the room to monitor the process from start to finish. While some children have issues with general anesthesia, it is very uncommon. There may be some grogginess after they are brought out of sedation, but this typically fades quickly.

In most cases, your child will go home the same day of the surgery. We pride ourselves on our focus on children’s comfort while handling the intended medical procedures with care.

Navigating the Post-Surgery Recovery Process with Your Child

It is said that real healing begins at home, and this is true after pediatric surgery of any kind. Be sure to comfort your child during this time: going through any surgery process is difficult and stressful!

If your child is mature enough, encourage them to be an active participant in the healing process. For example, older children may want to exercise their independence by cleaning their own surgical sites. Be sure that you teach them to be as gentle as possible and supervise the process so stitches aren’t pulled out.

Cleaning the skin gently is the most important thing to do. Warm water and gentle soap go a long way. Make sure that your child isn’t using heavily fragranced soap or body spray during this critical time. Body sprays may cause skin irritation, so avoid those as much as possible.

When you bring your child to follow-up visits after surgery, let them know that they can share any of their concerns with the doctor. Any sharp pain or changes in color at the surgical site should be communicated to your doctor immediately.

An Important Note About Antibiotics

If antibiotics are required after surgery, it’s important to take the entire course of the medicine and not just stop a few days into it. It’s harder for antibiotics to do their job if your child doesn’t take all of the medication prescribed by the doctor.

Austin Pediatric Surgery Is Here to Help

We know your child’s skin surgery is a difficult and scary topic, so feel free to contact us by phone or email to let us know your concerns. We’d be glad to walk through your child’s upcoming surgery, as well as make suggestions for aftercare and follow-up visits.


Everything You Need to Know About Your Child’s Hernia Surgery

Knowing your child needs hernia surgery can be scary — Austin Pediatric Surgery is here to help.

If your child has an abdominal wall hernia, Austin Pediatric Surgery is here for you.

We understand that watching your child undergo any sort of medical procedure may be intimidating, and our highly advanced team of medical professionals are here with you every step of the way. At our practice, we specialize in pediatric surgery with expertise in all types of abdominal wall hernias, including inguinal hernias, ventral hernias, epigastric hernias, and umbilical hernias, as well as others.

That’s why we’ve compiled this article listing everything you need to know about your child’s hernia surgery. This information will help you come to your child’s appointments with the peace of mind you’ve been looking for.

Which Hernia Conditions Require Surgery?

Hernia surgery may be required depending on the type of hernia your child has, how old the child is and whether the hernia is causing symptoms, such as pain.

At Austin Pediatric Surgery, our experienced surgeons can treat any type of abdominal hernia your child may be experiencing; however, the three most common forms of child hernias we see are umbilical, inguinal, and epigastric.

Are There Risks During Hernia Surgery?

There are few risks associated with pediatric hernia surgery. In rare instances, however, infection or bleeding can occur around the surgical site. Hernias can also come back, but rarely.

Your child’s surgeon will give you recovery instructions for what to expect after surgery. If you notice any bleeding or what could look like the beginnings of an infection, be sure to contact your child’s surgeon. Austin Pediatric Surgery is available around the clock for any concerns you may have after surgery.

How Should I Prepare My Child for Hernia Surgery?

Your child’s pediatric surgeon will provide you with a list of instructions that will be your guide as you prepare your child for this procedure.

Make sure that your child is bathed either the night before or the morning of the surgery. A nurse will clean and sanitize your child’s surgical site prior to the procedure in the operating room, but bathing beforehand can also help decrease the risk of infection.

You will be given a time at which your child should stop eating and drinking. It is important to make sure that your child abides by these instructions since the procedure may have to be rescheduled if these instructions are not followed.

You can also help your child mentally prepare for this procedure by comforting your child with the fact that there will be friendly faces nearby. It may also be helpful to bring something that reminds your child of home to the procedure, such as a blanket or a stuffed animal. This can help bring some comfort to your child during pre-op and recovery.

What Should I Expect During My Child’s Surgery?

Most pediatric hernia repairs are relatively quick; your child will likely be in the operating room for less than an hour, including anesthesia and wake-up time.

Once your child wakes up from the anesthesia, they will be brought back to the recovery room for post-operative monitoring. When you child is alert, they will bring you to their bedside as soon as possible.

Most hernia surgeries are outpatient procedures, meaning you and your child can most likely go home a few hours after the surgery.

What Will Post-Surgical Recovery Look Like?

Children are resilient, and it shouldn’t take long after your child’s procedure for them to begin feeling like themselves again. Most children are able to go back to their normal activities after a few days, but it could take a few weeks for a full recovery if your child’s hernia was larger or more complex to repair.

Your child’s surgeon will inform you of what your child can and cannot do in the days following their surgery and when you should give them their medication. A follow-up appointment with your surgeon may be recommended, usually 2-4 weeks after surgery to check and make sure everything is healing well.

See the Doctors You Can Trust at Austin Pediatric Surgery

We understand that sending your child into surgery is stressful. When you contact us, our specialists can answer any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s hernia surgery and schedule it at a time that’s convenient for you. We’ll be glad to provide you with the information and treatments that your child needs to get them feeling healthy once again!