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Umbilical hernia

Umbilical hernias mostly occur in infants and children.

What is an umbilical hernia and what does treatment for an umbilical hernia involve?

An umbilical hernia is a painless lump which can appear in or close to your bellybutton. According to the NHS, umbilical hernias are common in young children and especially premature babies. As well as children, adults can also develop an umbilical hernia. If left untreated, an umbilical hernia can lead to complications such as obstruction, where a part of your bowel has entered the hernia and become blocked outside of your abdomen (stomach) or the blood supply to your bowel is blocked (strangulation)

Umbilical hernias mostly occur in infants and children. These hernias are usually caused by a failure of the umbilical cord and naval to close after birth, but these hernias often naturally repair after a couple of months. If not, they can be treated by abdominal surgery.

The primary causes for these hernias are similar. For example, if your mother had multiple pregnancies before your birth, there is an increased likelihood of a failure to develop the inguinal canal during growth in the womb. This means that an umbilical hernia is more likely to develop.

Similarly, a premature birth means that the abdominal wall is more likely to be underdeveloped.

Obesity can heighten the risk of umbilical hernias. Due to the increased abdominal pressure from the build-up of fat around the belly button, it can force the intestine out around the weakened muscles of the abdominal wall. This can occur both in young children and later in life.

Umbilical hernias have a number of symptoms. These include a bloated abdomen accompanied by a general soreness and pain around the hernia.

If the hernia is large, then the pain will be extended out generally across the stomach area. Redness will also be a symptom around the herniated area.

The pain and discomfort can also lead to nausea.

In children, this hernia may also lead to behavioural changes in eating or drinking.

Fever can be a symptom in both adults and children resulting from this hernia.

An umbilical hernia can be generally treated by hernia repair surgery, either in open surgery or with key-hole surgery (laparoscopically).

Generally, surgeons prefer key-hole surgery as it is quicker, less invasive, and means you can recover quicker. The time between diagnosis and private hernia surgery is often less than a month, ensuring you receive rapid and world-class treatment. The surgery will differ from patient to patient, especially dependent on the age of the patient.

In children, the surgery can be more difficult owing to the physiological weakness of the patient when compared to older patients.

Our laparoscopic surgery requires a few small incisions around the belly button using a machine controlled by experienced and highly skilled clinicians. 

You will be placed under general anaesthetic for the procedure. Using a lightweight, synthetic mesh, our surgeons push the hernia back into the body and cover it in a lightweight synthetic mesh which strengthens the abdominal wall, preventing the hernia from popping out. This technique is referred to as an umbrella hernia repair.

Previous patients who have received this treatment with the mesh have recommended it rather than a manual pulling of the muscles together to heal the weakness, which can be more intrusive.

This less invasive surgery takes 45 minutes from start to finish, and is a day-care case, meaning you can arrive and leave on the day of the surgery.

However, as mentioned, this surgery can differ owing to the age of the patient. Your clinician can make more specific advice for your treatment.

A consultation with an experienced Consultant is often the quickest and simplest way to diagnose and treat your hernia.

They will be able to talk with you about the best treatment options for your specific situation.

Book an appointment online today.

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