The classic sign of an umbilical hernia is a bulge or soft swelling near or within the bellybutton. It’s common for the bulge to become more visible during straining movements and to disappear when the patient is lying down. In many cases, the bulge is also painful or tender.
In rare cases, an umbilical hernia may also be accompanied by severe pain, nausea and vomiting. These are signs of a strangulated hernia, which is a life-threatening complication that occurs when a piece of the patient’s bowel becomes trapped or incarcerated within the hernia, resulting in a compromised blood supply. This is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate evaluation and emergency surgery.
What causes an umbilical hernia?
While in the womb, babies have an umbilical ring, which is an opening that forms where the umbilical cord enters the fetus’s body. Usually, this ring closes before the baby is born. In some infants, the ring doesn’t close properly, and tissue bulges through the opening to create an umbilical hernia. Though the exact cause of the condition is unknown, umbilical hernias are more common in premature babies and those with low birth weights.
In adults, umbilical hernias occur due to a weakening of the abdominal wall that allows organs and tissue to protrude through. This weakness occurs due to increased pressure within the abdomen, caused by a chronic cough, straining to have a bowel movement, trauma, lifting heavy objects, excessive fluid in the abdomen, pregnancy or being overweight.
How is an umbilical hernia treated?
In most children, umbilical hernias close on their own by age one or two. If the hernia is painful, large, and/or doesn’t disappear by age four, surgery is generally recommended to prevent complications. In adults, umbilical hernias will not repair themselves and require surgery to fully resolve the condition.
There are two distinct surgical options our experts use to treat umbilical hernias: open hernia surgery or laparoscopic hernia repair. The procedure we use will be dependent on the exact nature and size of your hernia, as well as your medical history. It all goes towards providing among the most effective umbilical hernia repair Los Angeles has available.
During open hernia surgery, our experts will make a single long incision near the belly button. We will then return the tissues and organs to their proper location before repairing the hole or weakness in the abdominal wall using a mesh underlay or sutures. Recovery from open hernia surgery will typically last about three weeks, at which point patients may resume their normal activities. At six weeks, patients can resume strenuous exercise.
In some cases, we may use a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopic hernia repair. During surgery, our experts will insert a thin scope with a camera attached to obtain internal visibility of the hernia and surrounding structures. We will then make a small incision to expose the weakened tissues in the abdominal wall, before placing a mesh patch or sutures to repair the defect. Following laparoscopic hernia repair, the recovery period is slightly shorter and associated with less pain and discomfort than open hernia surgery. In most cases, recovery lasts one to two weeks, at which point patients can resume light activity. At four weeks, patients can resume strenuous exercise.
If you suspect you or your child has an umbilical hernia, or you have a protruding bulge near the bellybutton, it is important to seek immediate evaluation at the Los Angeles Hernia Center. Untreated hernias can lead to irreversible damage and the development of life-threatening complications, so time is of the essence. During your initial appointment, our team of surgeons will evaluate your symptoms and provide a definitive diagnosis. From there, we will compose a custom surgical plan to repair your hernia and prevent a recurrence using the most comfortable and minimally invasive techniques available. With years of experience and countless successful procedures, our surgeons have developed a reputation for delivering among the best umbilical hernia repair Los Angeles has to offer.
We specialize in performing complete hernia surgery and repair, using the latest and most minimally invasive techniques available. Moreover, our staff is comprised of two leading hernia experts, both of whom are fully committed to providing our patients with the best umbilical hernia repair Beverly Hills has available.
All procedures are performed in our surgical care center, which is a private alternative to a hospital setting. Because hernia repair is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, hospitalization simply is not necessary. As such, many patients prefer to undergo treatment in our state-of-the-art facility, which offers an added level of privacy, convenience, and comfort.Learn more