Caring for Your Child after Laparoscopic Hernia Repair
There are many types of hernias. Your child will have a ___________________ hernia repair. A hernia is a bulge where the bowel pushes through a weakened area in the groin, abdomen, or an old incision.
Your child’s hernia will be repaired using a laparoscope. It allows the doctor to repair the hernia through tiny incisions rather than a large one. This approach often results in a faster recovery and less pain than if the more traditional open approach.
Preparing for Surgery
Buy stool softeners like docusate (Colace®). Take one in the morning and one at night on the day before surgery. Stool softeners will be prescribed after surgery, too.
Your child may have some shoulder pain as a result of gas still present in his abdomen from the surgery. You may try to have your child lie on his side and bringing his knees up to his chest, or lying on his back and putting a few pillows under his buttocks so that the knees are higher than the chest. Stay like this for 5-15 minutes. The pain may go away. It is normal to have some pain or soreness at the surgical site. Pain medicine may be prescribed. Follow the instructions for use given by your pharmacist. Often a pain pill taken at bedtime can help your child get a good night’s rest.
Your child’s incisions will be covered with Band-Aids or an adhesive dressing. If steri-strips are in place, leave them on until the first doctor’s visit. They may begin falling off within the week.
You need to keep your child’s incisions dry for the first 48 hours. If he would like to shower during this time, keep the incisions dry by using Glad® Press ‘N Seal (or a product like this) to cover them during the shower. After 48 hours, the incisions do not need to be covered in the shower. Remove the dressing and allow the water to run over the incisions and pat dry. Cover with clean Band-Aids or leave open to air.
Do not soak in a tub, swim, or scrub the incisions until well healed – in about 10-14 days. The stitches will be absorbed and do not need to be removed.
Do not use lotions, creams, or ointments on incisions until healed.
Check your child’s incisions for signs of infection.
- Incision is bright red and/or hot
- Pus-like (yellow, green, or thick) drainage
- Fever (by mouth) greater than 100.4° F for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart
- Excess swelling or bleeding
Do not lift greater than 20 pounds for 1-2 weeks, until it is okayed by your child’s doctor.
Press on the surgical site with your hand if your child laughs or coughs a lot to give it extra support and to help decrease pain and discomfort.
Check with the doctor about when your child may return to school.
Start out slowly with clear liquids such as tea, broth, or Jell-O®. Add solid food to his diet, as his stomach feels better. Avoid fatty foods and dairy products the day of surgery to help decrease nausea.
Narcotic pain pills and being less active may cause constipation. You may want to give your child a stool softener such as Colace® or Miralax® to prevent this.
Follow this diet to prevent constipation.
- Drink 6-8 glasses water a day
- Eat 4 servings of fruits and veggies a day
- Eat 4 servings of whole grains a day
When to Call the Doctor
- If your child hasn’t had a bowel movement in 3 days, he may need a laxative.
- Fever over 100.4° F for two readings taken four hours apart.
- Excess scrotal swelling (some testicular or scrotal swelling is common in boys).
- Trouble passing urine.
- Increased redness at the incision site or warm to touch.
- If you notice a new bulge at the hernia site.
- Abnormal drainage, like bleeding or pus from the site.
- Increased pain not controlled by pain medicine.
- Some bruising is normal. If you notice rapid/excess bruising, please call.
Pediatric Surgery Clinic: (608) 263-6420, Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30 pm.
After hours, holidays and weekends, this will give you the paging operator. Ask for the Pediatric surgery resident on call for Dr. ___________________. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll free number: 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/26/2011
Copyright © 08/26/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6810
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