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Umbilical hernia repair


Definition:

Umbilical hernia repair is surgery to repair an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia is a sac (pouch) formed from the inner lining of your belly (abdominal cavity) that pushes through a hole in the abdominal wall at the belly button.

Description:

You will probably receive general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free) for this surgery. If your hernia is small, you may receive spinal or epidural block anesthesia and medicine to relax you. You will be awake but pain-free.

Your surgeon will make a surgical cut under your belly button.

  • Your surgeon will find your hernia and separate it from the tissues around it. Then your surgeon will gently push the contents of the intestine back into the abdomen. The surgeon will only cut the intestines if they have been damaged.
  • Strong stitches will be used to repair the hole or weak spot caused by the umbilical hernia.
  • Your surgeon may also lay a piece of mesh over the weak area (usually not in children) to make it stronger.

Umbilical hernia can also be repaired using a laparoscope, a thin, lighted tube that lets the doctor see inside your belly. The laparoscope will be inserted through one of the cuts and instruments will be inserted through the other cuts.

If your child is having this surgery, the surgeon will discuss the type of anesthesia your child will receive. The surgeon will also describe how the surgery will be done.

Risks:

The risks of surgery for umbilical hernia are usually very low, unless the patient also has other serious medical problems.

Risks for any anesthesia are:

Risks for any surgery are:

A specific risk of umbilical hernia surgery is injury to the bowel (large intestine). This is rare.

Before the Procedure:

Your surgeon or anesthesia doctor will see you and give you instructions for you or your child.

An anesthesiologist will discuss your (or your child's) medical history to determine the right amount and type of anesthesia to use. You or your child may be asked to stop eating and drinking 6 hours before surgery. Make sure you tell your doctor or nurse about any medications, allergies, or history of bleeding problems.

Several days before surgery, you may be asked to stop taking:

  • Aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve
  • Other blood thinning medications
  • Certain vitamins and supplements
After the Procedure:

Most umbilical hernia repairs are done on an outpatient basis, which means that you will likely go home on the same day. Some repairs may require a short hospital stay if the hernia is very large.

After surgery, your doctor and nurse will monitor your vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, and breathing). You will stay in the recovery area until you are stable. Your doctor will prescribe pain medicine if you need it.

Your doctor or nurse will show you how to care for your or your child’s incision at home. You or your child should be able to do all of your normal activities in 2 - 4 weeks.

Outlook (Prognosis):

There is always a chance that the hernia can come back. However, for healthy patients, the risk of it coming back is very low.

References:

Malangoni MA, Rosen MJ. Hernias. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 46.


Review Date: 1/29/2013
Reviewed By: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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