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Umbilical Hernia Repair Home Care Instructions

(757) 668-7000

An umbilical hernia is a hole in the muscles around the bellybutton through which the intestines slip. The operation will repair the hole.  It will take about 60 minutes. 

What to expect after surgery:

  • Most children are fussy for the first few hours after this procedure.  Parents are invited into the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) soon after the child begins to awaken.
  • You may notice a red/flushed color on your child’s face and chest.  This is due to medicine received in surgery.  This will soon fade.
  • There will be a large stretchy dressing placed over a smaller dressing of cotton balls and steri strips (white tape bandages) on the incision.  There are no stitches to be removed.
  • Keep the bandage over the wound clean and dry.  Remove the dressing when the doctor tells you.  If it comes loose sooner, leave it off.  The white steri strips will fall off by themselves around the 10th day.
  • Your child will have IV fluids until time for discharge and may be offered a few sips of clear liquid.  Some children may have nausea and/or vomiting the first day after this surgery.
  • Your child may complain of stomach (abdominal) pain for a few days after surgery.  Quiet activities are best for the first day or so.
  • A non-aspirin pain reliever or a narcotic may be given for pain.  If a narcotic pain reliever is used, take special care to provide high fiber foods (such as apple juice, fruit, vegetables, and whole wheat bread) to avoid constipation.

Special instructions: 

  • If your child is not toilet trained, roll the diaper down so that it does not cover the dressing.
  • Your child should not take gym class or play sports until allowed by the doctor.  He may return to school when he is able to manage on his own, usually 3 to 4 days after surgery.
  • Your child may sleep on his stomach when it is comfortable for him to do so.

Call your child’s doctor if:

  • The dressing becomes wet with drainage or blood.
  • Your child's wound looks red or has yellow drainage.
  • Your child begins having a croupy (barky) cough/cry or wheezing.
  • Your child's temperature is greater than 101.5 F rectally or by mouth.  Slight fevers are normal.  You should take your child's temperature at least once before bedtime.
  • Your child has vomiting that lasts more than 6 hours or if the vomiting is severe.  A child can become dehydrated when he has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the loss.  The signs of dehydration are:
    • Dry mouth
    • Sunken look around eyes
    • No tears when crying
    • Decreased amount of urine, which should mean fewer diapers than usual in an infant or toddler

Your nurse will discuss this with you before you go home.

REMEMBER: Please call if you have any questions.  Use the phone number your nurse gives you.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 09/2011

(757) 668-7000