10 answers

My Son Has a Inguinal Hernia-what Should I Expect?

About a week ago my 2 year old son's scrotum was suddenly very swollen. We took him to his pediatrician who diagnosed him with an inguinal hernia. Apparently, it is not all that uncommon in someone his age. He was just born with a weak spot in the abdominal wall, that coughing, straining with a BM, or something, caused the intestine to protrude. The doctor mentioned that it would probably pop in and out. By the next morning, he was back to normal. It doesn't seem to bother him at all (thank goodness). However, we have been referred to a pediatric surgeon to have him evaluated. His appointment is next week.

Has anyone else gone through this with their child? Does anyone have any ideas about what we should expect? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Hi C.- My son too had an inguinal hernia and had it repaired when he was two. We used Dr. Stephen Brush who is a professor at U of M and also practices in Toledo at St. V's. If you are in the area he is excellent!!! The surgery lasted about 45 min. They repaired the hernia and probed the other side for any others. One parent could go back to the surgical room until he was under the anesthesia. Then we could see him post-op after he was awake. He was home within hours and he was walking around the same day. They did give him pain meds but he never used them. He was playing the next day and back to himself within two days. The hardest part was making sure that he followed the limitations! Kids are amazingly resilient! It has been two years and he has a faint scar and doesn't even remember anything about the surgery.
Good Luck, it was much easier than I thought it would be, and I hope that you have the same results.

When you see the pediatric surgeon, please ask him or her to confirm that its not just a testicular hydrocele which is an accumulation of fluid in the lining of the scrotum. My son was misdiagnosed by our pediatrian and the surgeon with a hernia when all he had was a hydrocele. It wasn't until after the surgery for the alleged hernia that we found out it was just a hydrocele. I understand the treatment for a hydrocele is simply draining the fluid - much less invasive than the hernia surgery.

I actually have two experiences with this condition. My son who was just under four years old at the time had the same symptoms you describe.
I took him to the doctor and at first he was unable to find anything. After my son was active (walking, etc) his scrotum was swollen again.
The doctor admitted him to the hospital and he was operated on as an outpatient. He got along great and has never had any problem.
My nephew also had this problem but it wasn't corrected right away. As he got older, the opening got smaller and his intesting became strangulated. This could have been very serious.
Please do not put off treating your son.

My daughter had the same---rare in girls. She was one yr. old. We went to a pediatric surgeon--she had her operation at Childrens and was up and running around by the afternoon. We didn't even need to give her tylenol it was so quick and easy. No problems or complications since.

Our son had the exact same thing at age 2 and surgery was the only fix. We went to a pediatric surgeon (Dr. Mark Cain) and he was wonderful! Our son was in and out of surgery and his recovery was so quick. We were told too that this is very common in babies and younger boys. Also keep in mind, that if you decide not to have it corrected and he wants to play sports as he gets older, there is a chance that he would not pass the physical because of the hernia. It is better to have the surgery now when he won't remember and the recovery is so quick. Our son had no side effects and was up walking around that same day!

I have twins and they had hernias. The pediatrician did an assessment and took some measurements. The pesiatrician felt around the area with his hand to see where and how large the spot was. Within 2 weeks, my sons were scheduled for surgery and I was given and explanation of the process. I was there the whole time, with exception to being in the operating room.

I got to stay with my twins through inprocessing, anethesia and was waiting for them in the recovery room before they got there. Ask questions, it will be fine.

Relax, C.
Both of my sons, now grown men, had bilateral inguinal hernias, both had corrective surgery, and have no further problems. If your son cries you can expect swelling in the area, which is most likely uncomfortable for him. Your surgeon will evaluate the extent of the tear, and determine whether surgery is required. The surgery is relatively simple, and nothing to panic over. The surgeon may think it best to wait and see if your son develops a hernia on the other side, which is common as well. This happened with my older son, and he had surgery before he started school. He had a speedy recovery and an unremarkable surgery....no complications whatsoever. My younger son had hernia surgery at 14 weeks on one side, and the other side at age two. Neither surgery bothered him much, he did fine. Take care, and try not to worry....all will be fine.

My son had a bi-lateral hernia at about 11 weeks. The surgery was about 2 hours and I understand they are routine. We did have to stay overnight, but I don't know if that was just because he was so young or if it's routine. They didn't use stitches, only a small strip of tape. He showed no signs of any post-op discomfort and is 6 now and has no problems. It really is harder on us as the parents than them. It was very nerve-wracking for me to send me newborn off with relative strangers.
ETA-I forgot. They didn't tell me that it was also routine to keep the monitors on even after surgery, so I was a little shocked by that. But, it is kind of reassuring to know the response you get if one of those monitors falls off. Even if it's not needed, it's nice to see it.

Don't mess around with it, keep the appointment and get it fixed. My sister had one and our peditrician told my mom to use the wait and see approach. But the problem was the the intestine got blocked off and died, it ruptured and nearly killed her. So please get it fixed asap. My sister was about a year old when it happened.

Dear C.,

Both of my sons went through this. My one, shortly after we brought him home from the hospital. He was in horrible pain. They told us the same thing about popping it back in and tried to show me how to do it. I demanded they repair it, they did surgery and he is fine. He was only two months old and four pounds at the time, he was born premature.

My other son, he was in 7th grade, we think maybe he was born with it and it just presented itself during football training. He had surgery and was fine. He also had a vericoceile (sp). Those are vericose veins in the scrotum. That began to cause him pain last year and he had surgery on that too. All surgeries went well.

The toughest part is the anesthetic, the recovery is fairly quick. However, my one was a baby and wasn't active, the other was old enough to understand to take it easy. I'm not sure how to hold down a two year old for two to four weeks of recovery. Any surgery is scary, especially when it is our children. I will pray all goes well for you and God's healing hands are on him and with the surgeon if that needs to occur.

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