Epigastric hernias arise because of a small hole between the recti muscles (often referred to as the "six pack" if you're lucky enough to have one!). The hole or defect is often very small. The hernia sac that comes out between the muscles usually contains fat rather than any bowel.
Epigastric hernia's differ from other hernias in that they don't usually disappear when you lie down. This is because the defect is usually too small to allow the herniated sac/fat to go back in.
They rarely strangulate and patients often have them for a long time without suffering any problems.
Epigastric hernia surgery is easily performed under local anaesthetic in about 25 minutes.
A small transverse incision is made (better cosmesis than a vertical incision), identifying the small defect between the rectii muscles. The hernia sac is the excised if it is large, or simply pushing it back in if it is smaller. If the defect is large then a small mesh is then placed behind the muscle sheath.
The defect is then closed with a couple of sutures over the mesh, giving a two layer strength. Occasionally, if the hernia is very small a couple of stitches may be all that's needed and no mesh used.
Patients can leave hospital about 30 minutes after the operation and would expect to be back at work in 48 hours.
"No pain at all, just a bit of tenderness but was not uncomfortable or unmanageable. I chose Oxford Hernia Clinic for the quick turnaround time from consultation to surgery and the fact I could choose a date suitable to me. The most fantastic experience I have ever had in a hospital. I can honestly say there is nothing that can be improved. Extremely impressed from start to finish so a million thank yous."
Epigastric Hernia Patient FH July 2016