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Kid's Health (Archive)
Our award-winning Kid's Health Magazine is designed to provide healthful information for your growing child. Please Note: Kid's Health Magazine is no longer being printed. Please visit our blog at http://www.choc.org/blog for the latest articles about your child's health from the experts at CHOC Children's. You can also receive our electronic Kid's Health newsletter in your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list: http://www.choc.org/subscribe
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How Do You Know If Your Child Needs Surgery?

Facing surgery can be a scary time for children and their parents. Fortunately, the surgeons at CHOC Children’s are experts at performing a wide range of operations on children.

The following are some examples of the most common surgeries in children.

Inguinal Hernia
An inguinal hernia is one of the most common conditions in infants and children, and it is usually more common in boys, according to Ali Kavianian, M.D., surgeon-in-chief at CHOC Children’s. A hernia occurs when part of the abdominal organ pokes through a weak area of abdominal wall muscles.

Dr. Kavianian says an inguinal hernia can be present from birth to adulthood and usually does not cause any symptoms except for a bulge in the groin or scrotum.

However, when the hernia content gets caught and can’t return to the abdomen, it is called incarcerated. If this happens, you should take your child to the emergency room immediately. Alarming signs include severe pain at the hernia site. Younger infants usually just cry. The hernia lump is also very tender to touch.

If you discover a lump or bulge in or around the groin area, you should see your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible. A simple outpatient surgery by a pediatric surgeon can resolve the problem.

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix, a small tubular-shaped organ that is connected to the large intestine, becomes swollen and infected.

Pain usually starts in the middle of the abdomen and then moves to the right side and lower part of the abdomen. The child may develop a fever and start vomiting, Dr. Kavianian says.

If you think your child has appendicitis, take him or her to the pediatrician or emergency room without delay. If the operation is done before the appendix is ruptured, surgery is minor and the hospital stay is usually about two days. A ruptured appendix usually requires five to seven days in the hospital.

Necrotizing Fasciitis
Necrotizing fasciitis is becoming more common. It starts with a red pimple which can be seen around the buttocks or belly and can be mistaken for a diaper rash. But, within a very short time—sometimes just six to eight hours—it becomes very red, swollen, and painful, and the child will develop a fever. If not treated properly, it becomes very extensive and causes gangrene, or dead tissue.

If you observe such a condition, you should immediately take your child to the emergency room. He or she will then likely be admitted to the hospital. Good hygiene, including frequent hand washing, can reduce the risk of getting this infection.

We've Got Answers
If your child needs surgery, you’ve likely got questions. CHOC Children’s is here to help. Learn more about surgery at CHOC by visiting www.choc.org/surgery.


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Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

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