What Is Umbilical Hernia Repair Surgery?
An umbilical hernia is a bulge or pouch that forms in the abdomen. And umbilical hernia repair surgery is the procedure performed to fix these formations in the abdominal wall or to close an opening near the umbilicus (belly) that causes abdominal contents to protrude. Umbilical hernia repair surgery can be used to treat umbilical hernias in both children and adults. Umbilical hernias in children don’t always require surgical repair as they almost always heal without surgery. However, umbilical hernias in adults are unlikely to go away on their own as they grow larger over time and require a hernia surgery.
How is Umbilical Hernia Repair Surgery Done?
Umbilical hernia surgery is a fairly quick and simple operation. It generally takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Umbilical hernia surgery is done in two different ways: open hernia repair surgery and laparoscopic hernia repair. During the conventional open hernia repair, the surgeon makes a cut of about 2 to 3 cm at the base of the belly button, pushes the pouch back into the abdomen and stitches the cut. In laparoscopic hernia surgery, the surgeon makes less and smaller incisions around the hernia, inserts a thin tube into one of the incisions, gently pushes the pouch back through the hole in the abdominal wall and stitches the incisions.
How Do I Prepare for Umbilical Hernia Repair Surgery?
Not eating or drinking anything for at least 6 hours before umbilical hernia surgery is generally a standard requirement. Also, with the advice of your doctor, you will likely need to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pills such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil or levee several days before the surgery. In most cases, you will be put under general anesthesia before the umbilical hernia repair surgery, which means that you will be asleep and won’t experience any pain during the operation.
Is Umbilical Hernia Repair Surgery Risky?
The risks of umbilical hernia repair surgery are generally very low and rare.
Risks of umbilical hernia surgery and anesthesia in general are:
• allergic reactions to medicines
• breathing problems
• injury to the small or large intestine (rare)
• hernia comes back (rare)
• blood clots
What are the Symptoms of Umbilical Hernia?
An umbilical hernia creates a swelling or bulge near the belly. If your child has an umbilical hernia, you may notice it only when he or she cries, coughs or laughs, because the bulge may disappear when your baby is calm or lies on his or her back. You may seek emergency care if you or your baby have umbilical hernia symptoms such as:
• Obvious pain (44% of cases)
• Vomiting (9%)
• Nausea (9%)
• Tender, swollen or discoloured bulge
Recovering from Umbilical Hernia Repair
As umbilical hernia repair surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, most adults and children can possibly go home a few hours after the surgery. It is quite normal to feel sore and uncomfortable immediately after umbilical hernia surgery. Your child may be sleepy or cry a lot and demand extra attention after the operation. There may be bruising and tenderness around the wound during your umbilical hernia recovery time at home. This is normal and generally settles within a week. Your doctor will advise you about taking painkillers to relieve any discomfort. You can gently resume your daily activities if you can do them without feeling pain. You are likely to be able to work after a week or two. If your child has gone under umbilical hernia repair surgery, then it is recommended to keep your child from school for about a week.