Pediatric Surgical Associates
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Pediatric Surgical Associates

Inguinal Hernia and Hydroceles

During embryological development in boys, the testes develop and descend through an opening, the inguinal canal, into the scrotum. As this occurs, a membrane from the abdominal wall descends, as well. If this membrane persists, the intestines may lower into this canal or the scrotum, forming a hernia. If this sac fills with fluid from the abdomen, then it is called a hydrocele. In little girls, the round ligament from the uterus goes into the inguinal canal. They may have intestine or an ovary that gets trapped.


  • A bulge in the groin area
  • Pain or burning in this same area
  • The pain is worse with lifting, bending or coughing
  • Weakness or pressure in this area
  • Swelling
  • In babies, you may see the bulge when they cry, cough or strain


  • Most cases require surgery
  • Babies 6 months of age and younger have a much higher risk of the intestine getting trapped and twisting than older children and adults.

An incision is made and the hernia sac is located and tied off. In infants, the other side of the groin may be explored or evaluated with a scope to see if repair is necessary, as hernias develop on the opposite side in about 50% of cases.

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