An umbilical hernia is when abdominal tissues or organs push out through a weak spot in your abdominal wall in or near your belly button.

An umbilical hernia is when abdominal tissues or organs push out through a weak spot in your abdominal wall in or near your belly button. This causes a lump or swelling. Umbilical hernias are very common in babies but adults can develop them too. They’re sometimes called paraumbilical hernias in adults, and they’re often associated with pregnancy, or being overweight or obese.

When is surgery needed?

Umbilical hernias in babies don’t usually need surgery. They don’t usually cause any problems, and most of the time, they heal on their own by the age of 5 years old.

It’s usually advised that umbilical hernias in adults are repaired with surgery as soon as possible. This is because they are associated with a high risk of complications including strangulation. Strangulation is when the contents of the hernia become completely trapped and the blood supply is reduced or cut off. This can lead to the tissue becoming infected or dying, and other complications.

How is umbilical hernia repair carried out?

Umbilical hernia repair may be carried out by open or keyhole surgery. Your surgeon will gently push the tissue and organs back into place. They’ll then fix the weak spot in your abdominal wall either by stitching it together or inserting a mesh. Find out more about hernia repair.

You’ll usually be able to go home the same day as your umbilical hernia repair.

Complications of umbilical hernia repair

It’s common for an umbilical hernia to come back, especially if you gain weight after the surgery. There is also a risk of bowel obstruction (when your bowel becomes blocked) and injury to your bowel. Other complications are similar to those for other types of hernia repair, and include infection and build-up of fluid and blood in the area.

Umbilical hernia repair costs and fees

Umbilical hernia repair is often available through private medical insurance. Check with your insurer whether they will cover it. You can also self-fund this treatment.

Typically, an initial consultation with the surgeon will cost between £150 and £250. The cost of the procedure itself will vary depending on the exact surgery you have.

References

  • Coste AH, Jaafar S, Parmely JD. Umbilical hernia. StatPearls. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, last update 21 July 2020.
  • Calhoun Rice S. Umbilical hernia. Healthline. www.healthline.com, reviewed 15 December 2017.
  • Abdominal wall hernias. Patient. patient.info, last edited 15 January 2018.
  • Hernia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. www.britannica.com, last updated 26 May 2021.

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