An umbilical hernia is a type of hernia that forms in the inner lining of the belly and pushes through the hole near the belly button. It often doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort in the earlier stage. But it doesn’t go away on its own as well. Thus, umbilical hernia repair is performed surgically. The purpose of the surgery is to push the protruding organ back in its original place and repair the hole safely with or without the help of reinforcement.
Umbilical hernia repair can be performed as an emergency or elective procedure. The doctor diagnoses the condition of the patient and analyzes the level of pain caused by the hernia and other symptoms. If the hernia is negatively affecting the life of the patient, then surgical repair is recommended.
Emergency umbilical hernia repair is usually performed on the patients who develop complications, such as strangulation or incarceration.
Umbilical hernia typically forms when the navel is damaged and the muscle wall loses its ability to keep the internal organs in place. It results in bulging around the belly button that can be pushed back inside. However, the bulge grows gradually and may become more noticeable whenever the intraabdominal pressure increases.
Most children and women get this type of hernia. Children get this hernia because the umbilical cord is recently cut and the muscles are weak. Due to this, when the child coughs or strains excessively, the organ pushes through the belly button and leads to an umbilical hernia. Similarly, women are more prone to getting umbilical hernias because of pregnancies, especially multiple pregnancies.
As umbilical hernias are usually painless, the condition may get undiagnosed for a long time. In children, the bulge around the navel may become visible when the child coughs or cries.
In adults, an umbilical hernia causes discomfort during activities that put pressure on the abdomen region. The bulge can be seen clearly. However, an expert would be able to tell you accurately about the type of hernia.
The severity of umbilical hernia is determined on the basis of problems it has been causing in the regular life of the individual. Normally, the progression of umbilical hernia can be prevented by taking preventive measures. However, if the following symptoms appear, it means that the condition has become severe-
These symptoms are an indication that you should see a hernia specialist right away.
Whether it is an umbilical hernia or any other type of hernia, it should not be left untreated for a long time. Otherwise, the following complications can arise-
These symptoms may appear when the herniated tissue becomes trapped inside the abdominal cavity and become strangulated. At this stage, the patient will require emergency medical care.
Normally, an umbilical hernia develops due to congenital weakness in the muscle wall. In such scenarios, the hernia cannot be prevented. However, if there is no weakness in the abdominal muscle wall, the development of umbilical hernia can be prevented-
It is advisable that you consult a hernia doctor as soon as you notice a bulge in or around the abdomen. Through timely treatment, you may be able to prevent the umbilical hernia from progressing. However, in many cases, the umbilical hernia goes undiagnosed for a long time if it doesn’t cause any pain. If the following symptoms appear, you should seek help from a hernia specialist right away-
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.
As umbilical hernia can cause life-threatening complications, its treatment comes under the category of critical illnesses. Thus, all insurance providers offer plans with ample coverage for the treatment of umbilical hernia. You can pay for the entire treatment by using the insurance policy.
It is advised that you talk to your health insurance providers to find out how much amount you can claim through your plan.
The recovery after umbilical hernia surgery takes around 3-6 weeks. The actual period may be different for each patient based on the technique used for the repair and the patient’s healing abilities.
If the patient is healthy and open repair is done, the recovery will take around 4-6 weeks. In the same case, if laparoscopic repair is done, the recovery period will be around 3-4 weeks.
If the patient’s health is not optimal, then the recovery will be prolonged.
After repair, umbilical hernia is less likely to come back. It won’t have any significant impact on the individual’s life. In the long term, the only possible complication is mesh-related. If the mesh becomes infected or start to degrade, it may need to be removed. For removal, you will have to undergo a minor hernia mesh removal surgery which is safe and sound.
Another potential risk of umbilical hernia repair after a long time is the chances of developing another hernia, mostly incisional hernia.
In Sept 2021, a patient- Mrs. Namita Soni came to Dr. XYZ because of the bulge that was left after the delivery of her child. At first, she thought it was due to the pregnancy, but shortly after the delivery, the bulge started to grow and caused a lot of pain and discomfort. She came to us and found out that she had an umbilical hernia and it was progressing very rapidly because her muscles were weak due to the after-effects of pregnancy.
The doctor recommended surgery as soon as possible to prevent the hernia from becoming strangulated. Her surgery was planned for two days. As there were no existing complications, the laparoscopic technique was used for the repair. The hole in the muscle wall was quite large, thus, the doctor placed a hernia mesh on the upper side. The surgery was performed safely without any complications and she went home on the same day. As Namita was overall in good health, her recovery was quick and she didn’t face any difficulties during that period. After one month, she came for a final checkup and her recovery was complete.
Why do umbilical hernias commonly occur in infants?
Umbilical cord is the connection between the mother and the baby which is cut off after the birth. Normally, the opening in the umbilical cord closes shortly after the child is born. However, in some cases, the opening may not close up and a hole will be left in the abdomen that makes the child more prone to umbilical hernia.
Is surgery required to treat umbilical hernia in children?
Normally, in children, umbilical hernia goes away within the first two years after birth. Hence, surgery is usually not required. However, if the hernia doesn’t go away, surgery will be planned once the child reaches the age of 4-5 years.
What is considered a large umbilical hernia?
A large umbilical hernia is one that is bigger than 3 cm. At this stage, the doctors usually recommends surgical treatment. The hernia is not considered that severe if the size is less than 3 cm and it is reducible. Once the bulge reaches this size, it becomes more problematic and need proper treatment at the earliest.
What type of anesthesia is used for umbilical hernia repair?
The type of anesthesia that will be used for umbilical hernia repair depends on the patient. The anesthetist checks if the patient is allergic to some component of the anesthestic agent and then make a decision regarding the type of hernia.
Whether you or your child has an umbilical hernia, Pristyn Care provides optimal treatment to all the patients who come to us seeking medical care. We have an experienced team of hernia specialists who have performed numerous surgeries with over 90% success rate. Our doctors excel at minimally invasive surgery as well as conventional procedures.
Pristyn Care is partnered with the best hospitals and clinics to provide the best-quality medical care and services to patients. We also have our own clinics where patients can walk in or book appointments with the best hernia doctors in their city.
To book an appointment with the best hernia doctors near you, visit the Pristyn Care website and use any of the following ways to schedule your consultation-
You can also choose between offline or online consultation mode at your convenience.