Umbilical hernias are fairly common in infants, particularly for premature babies, and tend to disappear on their own. However sometimes, umbilical hernias can develop in adults, for example if you have been straining your muscles whilst lifting heavy objects, if you have a heavy cough or are overweight. This causes a bulge to appear around the belly button in the abdominal wall, where fatty tissue or part of your bowel is protruding from the navel. Treatment will usually be recommended to repair an umbilical hernia in adults, as complications such as obstruction, nausea and pain can develop if left untreated.
Getting you on your way to recovery
Umbilical hernia repair surgery is a straightforward procedure that takes around 20-30 minutes and can be carried out as an open or laparoscopic (keyhole) procedure. It is usually possible to go home on the same day. Your Consultant will discuss your best options for treatment during your initial consultation.
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What does an umbilical hernia repair involve?
In most cases, the operation is carried out under general anaesthetic. Your Consultant will make a 3-4 cm incision and carry out a procedure to push the hernia back into place and repair the weakness in the abdominal wall. The muscle layers at the weak spot in the abdominal wall where the hernia came through are stitched together to strengthen them. For large umbilical hernias, a special mesh patch may be placed in the abdominal wall to strengthen the area instead. Hernia repair can be performed as an open or laparoscopic (keyhole) procedure, although most umbilical hernia surgery repairs are carried out as open procedures. Your treatment options will be discussed with you during your initial consultation.
Will I need to stay in hospital?
Treatment for an umbilical hernia is usually carried out as a day case so you should be able to go home afterwards, but, in some cases, you may need to stay in hospital overnight. Your Consultant will be able to advise you on this during your consultation.
What is the recovery period for an umbilical hernia?
Most patients find they make a full recovery within six weeks, with some able to return to driving and work within two weeks. However, everyone is different, and you should be able to discuss this during your consultation.
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