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Umbilical

Umbilical Hernia

Umbilical hernia is a bulge that forms near the navel or belly button, when a part of the intestine, fat or fluid is pushed out through a weakened muscle of the abdomen. It is commonly found in infants and young children, especially in premature babies. The umbilical cord passes through a small muscular opening in the baby’s abdomen during pregnancy. Sometimes, the muscles of the umbilical opening fail to close completely after birth. This leads to a weak spot near the navel, which allows internal organs of the abdomen to push through it.

Signs and Symptoms

The hernia may be noticeable in babies when they cough, cry or strain the abdomen, and may wane  or reduce while lying down or staying calm. This type of hernia is generally not painful in children. Umbilical hernias have a risk of getting trapped and strangulated, thereby cutting off the blood supply to the trapped part.

Indications

Indications for recommending surgical repair in children include:

  • Painful, trapped or strangulated hernia
  • Hernia fails to close by 5 or 6 years
  • Large hole near the navel (greater than 1 inch in diameter)

Diagnosis

Physical examination is generally conducted to determine the size and prominence of the umbilical hernia. In children, the hernia generally resolves by 18 months. Your doctor may wait for a while before suggesting surgery.

Treatment

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Your child’s surgeon makes a small incision under the belly button. The herniated tissue is gently pushed back into the abdominal cavity and the incision is closed with dissolvable sutures. A mesh may be stitched in place to strengthen this area in order to prevent recurrence. The common risks associated with the surgery include infection and recurrence of the hernia.

  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery
  • American Medical Association
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program