What is an Umbilical Hernia?
When there is an area of weakness in the navel, due to which an organ gets displaced from its original place, an umbilical hernia occurs. To simplify, this is the protrusion of an organ directly at the belly button.
As the umbilical hernia occurs directly in the belly button, it is more common in infants and children. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean in adults umbilical hernia doesn’t occur. When a baby cries, the belly button swells up. The majority of umbilical hernias closes on its own between one to three years of birth.
It gets dangerous only when the swelling persists up to 3 to 4 years. Under such circumstances, surgery is the only treatment option.
People with an umbilical hernia generally complain of excessive pain around the navel, pressure, nausea, and vomiting.
When an umbilical hernia is left untreated for long, it can lead to the development of the bulge in the abdomen, fever and even strangulation.
What is a Paraumbilical hernia?
When there is an area of weakness around the navel, due to which an organ gets displaced from its original place, a paraumbilical hernia develops.
Also known as an infantile umbilical hernia, paraumbilical hernia develops when the umbilical ring fails to close. The umbilical ring is the part where the umbilical cord fails to fuse.
This type of hernia is also known as a “belly button” hernia. This type of hernia tends to develop more in adults. Although they can develop at any age in adulthood, older men and overweight people are more prone to developing this hernia.
Symptoms of a paraumbilical hernia
Some of the common symptoms of a patient with a paraumbilical hernia are-
- Noticeable bulge
- Pain around the belly button which can range from a dull ache to sharp severe pain
- Hernia tends to increase in size over time
Complications of Para-umbilical hernia
Similar to an umbilical hernia, there can be some complications that can develop with a para-umbilical hernia. When the hernia is left untreated, it can become difficult to push it back inside. Therefore, the hernia is incarcerated which means it cannot be reduced.
In severe cases, the hernia can become strangulated in which the blood supply to the ‘trapped’ tissue can cut off. Remember, this is a life-threatening condition that requires medical attention. Another fatal condition that can occur is that the intestine can trap within the hernia that can lead to bowel obstruction.
Umbilical vs Paraumbilical hernia
There is no major point of distinction between umbilical and paraumbilical hernia. The only characteristic contrasts between the two types lie in the places of origin and the age group they mostly occur in.
|Umbilical Hernia||Paraumbilical Hernia|
|This occurs directly in the belly-button or navel.||This occurs around the belly-button or navel.|
|Commonly seen in newborn babies and young children.||Commonly seen in adults, especially those who are overweight and women after pregnancy.|
What is the treatment for Paraumbilical and Umbilical Hernia?
No matter what type of hernia a person has developed- umbilical or paraumbilical- hernia repair is the most effective treatment option available. With each passing day of delaying the treatment, the hernia can become bigger and more discomforting.
Preparing for the surgery
Preparation for any surgery is vital. Therefore, the same idea applies to prepare for a para umbilical and umbilical hernia. Take care of the following steps before going for the surgery-
- Talk with the doctor if you have any problems related to blood pressure, heart, or lungs.
- Ask a relative or friend who can accompany you to the hospital as well as take care of you after the operation.
In the surgical procedure, the doctor makes a cut near the navel and pushes or removes the hernia back. A synthetic mesh is placed near the weakened spot to strengthen the area.
Taking care after the surgery
Some tips that can help recover after the surgery of umbilical and paraumbilical hernia are-
- Take painkillers to get relief from postoperative pain and discomfort.
- Once the stitches dissolve, take a bath or shower.
- Start sexual relations after a week or two. (Read here: When to have sex after hernia surgery?)
The complications that a paraumbilical hernia incur are similar to those of umbilical hernia. Although it occurs in rare cases, complications that can occur are- bleeding that doesn’t stop, infection around the wound or mesh, damage to the abdominal organs, chronic pain, or collection of fluid under the wound.
How long does it take to recover after para umbilical and umbilical hernia repair?
After keeping under observation for a couple of hours, the patient can go home on the same day of the surgery. Once the patient reaches home, they can engage in light activities. Usually, the patient needs to take a week or two off from work. Additionally, the full recovery takes almost 4-6 weeks.
What are the risks that can occur after paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair?
After any other major surgery, there can be some side effects during the recovery period. Some of the complications to expect during the recovery include-
- Risk of infection
- Bleeding from the wound
- Seroma and lump near the wound
- Recurrence of the hernia
- Risks associated with anesthesia
In conclusion, Paraumbilical hernias which are short or asymptomatic can be left untreated. However, large paraumbilical or umbilical hernias need surgical methods to treat the condition.
Moreover, the surgical method of hernia repair can be performed in two ways- the “open” method or “laparoscopic” method.