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Inguinal Hernia


What is an inguinal hernia?

An inguinal hernia occurs when abdominal contents protrude through the muscle wall. It may pouch out and look like a balloon under the skin. The operation involves closing the muscle wall sac to make it stronger.

How long will it take?

The operation takes about 30 to 45 minutes. This includes the anaesthetic, operation and time spent in the recovery room. Your child will be required to stay in the Day Unit for approximately one to two hours following surgery.

When can my child eat and drink again?

If your child is awake on return to the Day Unit, clear fluids may be offered immediately (breast fed babies can have a breast feed). A light diet will be offered when fully awake.

Care at home

Pain relief

  • Have a supply of paracetamol at home. It can be given as per the instructions on the product packaging for the first three to five days after the operation to relieve pain or discomfort.
  • Give other pain relief medicine only if advised.
  • Do not give aspirin.

Diet and fluids

Your child may eat and drink when feeling well.


It is not uncommon for children to vomit on the night of the operation. If your child is vomiting, give sips of clear fluids, try a piece of dry toast or a cracker biscuit and increase the amounts as tolerated until the vomiting settles. If vomiting continues after 24 hours seek medical advice.


Allow plastic or clear dressing to fall off spontaneously or as advised. If your child has a plastic dressing, they can bath or shower after 24 hours. If there is a white dressing, this must be kept dry, so sponge bath only or remove dressing as advised.


Swimming is allowed after seven days.

Points to remember

  • Inguinal hernia surgery usually requires admission for the day only.
  • Vigorous play or contact sport should be avoided for about 14 days or as advised.
  • Your child may return to school after five to seven days if they're feeling well.
  • Take child to your GP or go to your closest hospital that treats children if there is excess vomiting, persistent high temperatures or excessive pain not relieved by paracetamol.
  • If you are concerned about the operation site, please contact your doctor.

Follow up visit

An appointment will be either given to you when your child is discharged or posted out to you.

Emergency contact

To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.

Contact Mater Children’s Private Brisbane

Salmon Building,

Raymond Terrace,

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111


Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-470023
Last modified 28/4/2020.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 01/10/2019
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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