Umbilical hernias are not always obvious.
It's possible to live with an umbilical hernia without realizing it. While umbilical hernias can be incredibly painful, it's not uncommon for them to be present for years without noticeable symptoms.
What is an umbilical hernia?
An umbilical hernia is a type of hernia where intra-abdominal contents (usually fat, but occasionally intestine) protrude through an opening in the abdominal muscles where the umbilical cord once was. Umbilical hernias are most common in infants, but can also be found in adults. Umbilical hernias are more common for overweight people and women who have given birth.
What are the symptoms of an umbilical hernia?
There are several common symptoms associated with umbilical hernias:
- A bulge in the belly button or surrounding region, often most visible when coughing or straining
- Pain at the hernia site
- Sharp abdominal pain and vomiting that can mean the hernia is strangulated. If you are experiencing these symptoms please seek immediate medical attention as emergency surgery may be required
Treatment for umbilical hernias
There are two primary surgical treatment options for umbilical hernias. The right type of treatment for you depends on your health history and the severity of your umbilical hernia. Your surgeon will work with you to determine the best approach for your health.
Open hernia repair
To repair your umbelical hernia, the surgeon will make an incision near the site of your hernia. Your surgeon sutures the hernia opening closed or uses mesh to cover the opening. Closing the opening prevents your intestine from entering through the muscle tissue. Open hernia repair is the most common approach for umbilical hernia treatment.
Laparoscopic hernia repair
With Laparoscopic umbilical hernia repair small incisions are made near the site of the hernia. A laparoscope, which is a tiny camera, is inserted. The Laparoscope helps you surgeon see the hernia. Your hernia repair procedure includes suturing of the hernia opening or placement of mesh at the hernia site to prevent the intestine from entering thourgh the muscle tissue.