Umbilical hernia repair is a surgical procedure to correct a hernia that has developed at or near the belly button. During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision near the hernia and either stitch the weakened muscle or tissue back together or use a synthetic mesh to reinforce the weakened area.
Umbilical hernia repair is usually done as an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient can go home on the same day. Recovery time will depend on the type of surgery performed and the size of the hernia. In general, patients can resume their normal activities within a few weeks after surgery.
The symptoms of an umbilical hernia can include:
It’s important to note that not all umbilical hernias cause symptoms, and some may only be detected during a routine physical exam or medical imaging.
Umbilical hernias are caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall muscles, which allows the contents of the abdomen to protrude through the weakened area. Some common causes of umbilical hernias include:
Congenital (present at birth): Umbilical hernias can be caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall that is present at birth, which may be due to incomplete closure of the muscles around the umbilical cord.
Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put increased pressure on the abdominal wall, which can lead to the development of an umbilical hernia.
Pregnancy: The increased pressure on the abdominal wall during pregnancy can cause a weakness in the muscles around the belly button, leading to an umbilical hernia.
Straining: Heavy lifting, coughing, or straining during bowel movements can increase the pressure on the abdominal wall, which can cause a hernia to develop.
Previous abdominal surgery: Scar tissue from previous abdominal surgery can weaken the abdominal muscles and increase the risk of an umbilical hernia.
Chronic diseases: Certain medical conditions, such as liver disease or peritoneal dialysis, can weaken the abdominal wall and increase the risk of developing an umbilical hernia.
It’s important to note that not everyone with a risk factor for an umbilical hernia will develop one, and some people without any risk factors can still develop a hernia.
The treatment options for an umbilical hernia depend on the size and severity of the hernia, as well as the presence of any symptoms.
Small umbilical hernias that are not causing any symptoms may not require treatment and can be monitored by a healthcare provider.
A truss is a device that can be worn to support the hernia and prevent it from protruding through the abdominal wall. However, trusses are typically only used as a temporary measure and are not a long-term solution for an umbilical hernia.
If the hernia is causing pain, discomfort, or other symptoms, or if it is increasing in size, surgery may be necessary to repair the hernia. The surgery can be done through traditional open surgery or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, which involves smaller incisions and faster recovery time.
During the surgery, the weakened muscle or tissue is either stitched back together or reinforced with a synthetic mesh.
There are two main surgical options for umbilical hernia repair:
Open Surgery: During an open surgery, a single incision is made near the belly button, and the hernia is repaired using sutures or mesh. This method is typically used for larger hernias or in cases where there is a risk of complications, such as strangulation of the hernia.
Laparoscopic Surgery: During laparoscopic surgery, several small incisions are made in the abdomen, and a laparoscope (a thin, lighted tube with a camera) and specialized surgical tools are used to repair the hernia. This method is less invasive than open surgery and typically involves less pain and a faster recovery time.
Both open and laparoscopic surgeries have high success rates and low complication rates. The choice of surgery will depend on the size and severity of the hernia, as well as other individual factors such as age, overall health, and surgeon preference.
It’s important to note that umbilical hernias cannot heal on their own, and without treatment, they may become larger, more painful, or cause complications. If you suspect that you have an umbilical hernia, or are experiencing any symptoms, you should see a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.