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Umbilical Hernia

Admission Information and Discharge Instructions

What is an umbilical hernia?

An umbilical or bellybutton hernia looks like a big, full bellybutton with lots of loose skin. A hernia is an opening in the thick muscles that make up the abdominal wall. Abdominal contents, such as intestines, can slip through the opening and cause the bellybutton to look as if it is sticking out.

An umbilical hernia happens when the abdominal wall did not completely close while your baby was growing in the uterus. It is something that can happen to any baby.

What happens during the surgery?

This hernia repair is done as day surgery. This means your child will not need to spend the night in the hospital. Your child will have general anesthesia and will be asleep during the surgery. A very small incision is made below the bellybutton, and the hole in the abdominal wall is closed. Recovery from anesthesia takes 2 to 3 hours. Your child will be able to go home when he is fully awake, able to drink, and has a normal heartbeat and breathing patterns.

Discharge Instructions After Day Surgery

  1. Care of Incision. Your child will have a dressing covering the incision. This should remain in place until the follow-up visit in 5 to 7 days.
  2. Pain Control. Your child may need pain medicine the first few days after surgery for pain control.

    Your child's pain medicine is ______________________. Give __________ every ______ hours as needed.

  3. Activity. Children will limit their activity if they are uncomfortable. Your child may begin normal activities as soon as he desires. School-age children may miss 3 to 4 days of school. Your child should not ride on straddle toys or bicycles for a week. Rough play should also be avoided for several days.
  4. Bathing. Do not get the wound dressing wet. Give your child sponge baths until the dressing is removed in 5 to 7 days.
  5. Diet. Your child may eat what he desires. Encourage your child to drink fluids.
  6. Additional Instructions




  7. Follow-up Appointment After Discharge

    Your child needs to be rechecked and has an appointment on _________________ at ________ o'clock with _________________________________

Call Your Doctor If:

  • Your child has pain that is not controlled by acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Your child has a fever greater than 101F (38C).
  • Your child has any bleeding from the wound not stopped by 5 minutes of direct pressure.
  • Your child has pus draining from the wound or a large red area around the wound.
  • Your child has not urinated in a 12-hour period.
Written by Randi Price, RN, MSN, CPNP, and reprinted by permission of The Children's Hospital, Denver, CO.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-02-08
Last reviewed: 2006-02-06
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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