It is not possible to treat umbilical hernia or any other type of hernia without surgery. Lifestyle changes, medications, and support like truss can help to address the pain, swelling, and other symptoms. However, these methods won’t be effective in treating the root cause of the problem.
Surgery is the definitive treatment for an umbilical hernia. Through surgery, the doctor pushes the protruding organ back to its original position and repair the hole in the muscle wall. The repair can be done through-
Herniorrhaphy (Tissue Repair)
This type of hernia repair is performed when the hole in the muscle wall can be closed by stitching the sides of the muscle opening. Thus, there is no need for additional support, and the muscle tissues will heal over time, thereby preventing the internal organs from pushing through.
Hernioplasty (Mesh Repair)
Also known as mesh repair surgery, this type of hernia repair surgery involves using a synthetic or artificial mesh. The mesh pieces are precisely cut into the shape of the hole and placed above and beneath the muscle tissues to act as reinforcements. The corners of the mesh are stitched with the muscles to avoid displacement. The mesh prevents the organ from pushing through the muscle wall.
Both procedures are safe and effective in treating hernias and can be performed using open or laparoscopic techniques.
To prepare for umbilical hernia surgery, follow the steps below-
- Avoid eating or drinking anything at least 6-8 hours before the surgery.
- Provide a list of medicine to the doctor so that he/she can make the necessary adjustments to prepare the body for surgery.
- The anesthetist will ask a series of questions to analyze which anesthesia will be appropriate to use during the procedure.
- The doctor will ask to stop taking aspirin, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medicines, etc. for at least a week before the surgery as they increase the potential risk of bleeding.
- Get a full-body checkup to eliminate the risk of any underlying condition that can compromise the outcome or success rate of the surgical repair.
- Take a shower and wear loose and comfortable clothes before admitting to the hospital.
- Ask a friend or family member to stay with you.
Once everything is ready, you will be taken to the operation theater (OT) and anesthesia will be given to numb the surgical site. The type of anesthesia is chosen based on the technique decided for umbilical hernia repair, either open or laparoscopic. General anesthesia is used when laparoscopic hernia repair is being performed and local/regional anesthesia is used for open repair.
As soon as the anesthesia takes effect, the following steps are carried out-
- Incisions are made around the abdomen to access the internal organs. In open repair, there will be a large size incision. But in laparoscopic repair, small keyhole-sized incisions are made to insert the surgical tools.
- The herniated tissues or bulge portions are pushed back in the original location and the hole is closed with or without the help of mesh. Either the sides of the hole are stitched together or mesh is placed over the tissues for support.
- After the muscle repair is done, the incisions are closed with the help of stitches, surgical glue, or staples.
Shortly, you will be transferred to the observation room until the anesthesia wears off and then you’ll be moved back to the ward.
Immediately after the surgery, you will feel slightly disoriented. There will be numbness in the surgical site and IV fluids & pain medications will be given to you.
When hernia surgery is done electively without complications, the patient is generally discharged on the same day. However, if there are complications associated with the treatment, the doctor may suggest at least one day of hospitalization.
So, you will be discharged accordingly, and before that, the doctor will also create a recovery plan including diet, physical restrictions, etc.
The results of umbilical hernia repair will be visible shortly after the surgery. There will be some bruising and swelling in the surgical site. The bulge will disappear completely as the organ will be pushed back.
The overall cost of umbilical hernia repair surgery will range from Rs. 65,000 to Rs. 2,50,000 approximately. The exact cost will vary for each patient based on the factors below-
- The choice of hospital
- Doctor’s consultation and operating fee
- The city you live in
- Diagnostic tests
- Risks and complications
- The technique chosen for treatment (open or laparoscopic)
- Type of mesh used (if any)
- Hospital admission, bed, and discharge expense
- Pre and post-surgery medications
- Follow-up consultations
You can ask the doctor and he/she will provide you with an estimate of the entire treatment cost.