When an unborn boy is developing, the testicles begin in the belly and travel down the abdomen. The testicles travel through the inguinal canal, bringing with it a lining of the abdomen called the processus vaginalis. Together they descend into the scrotum, and once the testicles are in the scrotum, the processus vaginalis closes.
An inguinal hernia occurs when the processus vaginalis does not close completely after birth, leaving an opening between the abdomen and scrotum. The small intestine moves through this opening, causing a hernia. This may lead to unintended medical complications.
According to Havard Health, hernias occur in about one out of 100 boys and are more common in premature babies. The best way to diagnose an inguinal hernia is to have a specialist perform a physical exam. There are several methods of surgically repairing the hernia. These surgical methods include laparoscopy, scrotal incision and groin incision.
Your physician will provide you with the best option for your child’s specific condition. In order to repair the hernia, any herniated small intestine will be placed back into the abdomen. The open processus vaginalis is tied off in the abdomen to prevent further hernia injury.
On the day of surgery, plan on being at the hospital for at least five hours. Before the surgery, you will meet with the surgeon and anesthesiologist. Keep in mind that most hernia surgeries will take one hour on average, to complete. After your child has recovered from surgery and anesthesia, they may go home. Most children can return to their normal activities in 2 to 4 weeks.