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Pediatric Inguinal Hernia (Groin)


Fax: 214-456-6320
Suite F5200

Park Cities

Fax: 469-488-7001
Suite 106

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What is a Pediatric Inguinal Hernia (Groin)?

Inguinal hernias in children occur when the pathway from the abdomen to the scrotum or labia does not close. 

  • In boys, the testicles develop in the abdomen and then travel through this pathway into the scrotum. 
  • In girls, the round ligament of the uterus follows the same path. 

When the pathway fails to close, there is a persistent communication between the abdomen and scrotum or labia.  Abdominal contents (most commonly intestine or an ovary) can then slide in and out of this pathway and this is called a hernia.  When fluid is contained in the hernia sac within the scrotum, it is called a hydrocele.

Risk factors

Children are move likely to develop a hernia for any of the following reasons:

What are the signs and symptoms of a Pediatric Inguinal Hernia (Groin)?

Most umbilical hernias do not cause symptoms and will resolve on their own by the age of 5 years. Symptoms for a hernia can include the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Belly button sticks out (umbilical hernia only)
  • Discomfort in the groin, especially when bending, coughing or lifting
  • Noticeable bulge in the stomach, scrotum or pubic bone
  • Pain in the groin region
  • Pressure or “heavy” feeling in groin (often described as something is pulling on the groin)
  • Swelling in the testicles
  • Vomiting

How is a Pediatric Inguinal Hernia (Groin) treated?

These hernias do not go away on their own and require surgery to prevent complications such as the bowel getting stuck in the hernia sac. Depending on the age of your child, some surgeons may recommend looking for a hernia on the other side at the same time as the initial hernia surgery. 


Depending on your surgeon, the procedure can be performed through a small incision in the groin or by using the laparoscope (minimally invasive surgery). 


The most common complications are wound infections and recurrence of the hernia which occurs approximately 2% of the time. 

Pediatric Inguinal Hernia (Groin) Doctors and Providers