An umbilical hernia can occur at any age. An umbilical hernia is usually a protrusion of fat (not bowel) and results from a weakness in the abdominal wall muscle sheath.
The umbilical hernia defect (hole) is often very small and so the hernia is not always reducible (able to push back in).
When the defect is larger it may be possible to push the hernia back in when you lie down. An umbilical hernia can occasionally strangulate and need urgent surgery but this is uncommon.
Repairing the umbilical hernia is very straight forward and easily performed under local anaesthetic in about 25 minutes.
Patients can usually drive the next day, return to work within 48 hours and are more comfortable than inguinal hernia surgery patients, often needing little in the way of pain killers.
An umbilical hernia is easily repaired under local anaesthetic in about 25 minutes.
A small transverse incision (better cosmesis than a vertical incision) below the umbilicus (belly button) is made. The hernia sac is often quite small and sometimes can simply be pushed back in.
A small mesh is then inserted behind the sheath and the sheath repaired over the mesh for a double layer repair.
If the defect is very small a mesh is not necessary and a couple of stitches will often be all that's needed.
Patients can leave hospital about 30 minutes after surgery (one of our patients then cycled home 10 miles!).