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The 5 Most Common Questions About Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Umbilical hernia surgery is a very common surgical procedure, and typically one of the safest ones with a nearly perfect success rate. It’s often done on infants since post-natal hernias are very common, however, adults can get umbilical hernias too.

How do umbilical hernias happen?

In newborns, umbilical hernias happen because the muscles surrounding the connection to the umbilical cord don’t close fully. In children and adults, the abdominal muscle wall and the tissues supporting it around the belly button can become weak, causing part of the intestine to stick out. This can often be due to the muscles not joining properly after birth, even if it doesn’t show up until later in life.

What are the typical symptoms?

The first thing you’ll notice is a visible bulge. Umbilical hernia bulges can vary in size. Other common symptoms are abdominal pain around the bulge site, especially when breathing in or straining. If you or your baby has nausea or vomiting combined with excruciating pain around the hernia area, you will need to see a doctor.

What are the risks of leaving it untreated?

An untreated umbilical hernia leaves the organs around the belly button more sensitive to damage. Organ damage can cause some serious health issues, some of which are potentially fatal. Also, the hernia could get worse over time, causing a more involved surgery to be necessary. The worse the hernia, the longer the recovery time.

Should I get umbilical hernia surgery?

If you or your baby are feeling discomfort or pain around the hernia site, it’s probably better to get it fixed as soon as possible. However, not all hernias will need surgery. For infants, umbilical hernia surgery is not always necessary as it can close up on its own. If it doesn’t get better, however, consult your physician: surgery may be necessary.

What are the risks of umbilical hernia surgery?

Umbilical hernia surgery is a very safe surgery, commonly done in hospitals all over the world. It’s not without risks, however. The most common risk is bruising around the wound site, which could result in pain post-op. Another common risk is the risk of infection, however, this is a risk of all surgeries and is not necessarily representative of the dangers of umbilical hernia surgery.

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