Umbilical Hernia: What You Need To Know

An umbilical hernia is quite common in infants and newborns, but adults can be affected too. It develops when part of the bowel (intestines) or fatty tissue presses through a weak spot in the abdominal wall near the navel. Let’s find out more about an umbilical hernia: what you need to know.

What Causes An Umbilical Hernia In An Adult

The American College of Surgeons tells us that adult women seem to be more prone to umbilical hernias than men, and 10% of all adult hernias are umbilical. It is also true that umbilical hernias happen more frequently in adults over the age of 60 due to weakened muscles.

diagram illustration of umbilical hernia

Although young children are more prone to an umbilical hernia, adults can develop them and it usually occurs with the following chronic health conditions which increase the risk factors:

  • Carrying excessive fluid in the abdomen
  • Chronic cough
  • Prolonged constipation
  • Repetitive vomiting
  • Obesity
  • Frequent or multiple pregnancies
  • Straining like a weightlifter

Treatment For Adult Umbilical Hernias

Watchful waiting is generally not recommended for adults with an umbilical hernia. It is possible to wait if the hernia is very small and if it can be pushed back into place.

Although an umbilical hernia in children usually goes away on its own, adults may find they suffer with discomfort. If there is pain or if the hernia has grown, Michigan Hernia Surgery may recommend surgery be performed. Waiting too long can increase the risk that the intestines could be squeezed in the hernia pouch, and its blood supply could be cut off. Should this happen, emergency surgery is needed.

Typical surgery to treat an umbilical hernia is relatively simple. With open surgery an incision is made near the site, and it is repaired using mesh or by suturing the muscle layers closed.

Laparoscopic surgery is performed using tiny incisions in the abdomen. Ports are inserted into the openings and small instruments and a lighted camera are placed in the ports. Once the abdomen is inflated (to help the surgeon see the hernia better), mesh may be sutured or stapled to the muscles around the hernia site. Lastly, the port openings are closed with sutures, glue, or clips.

Most patients return home the same day.

Contact Michigan Hernia Surgery at 248.551.9090 for an examination if you suspect you have an umbilical hernia.

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