What are paraumbilical and umbilical hernias?
Your abdominal cavity contains your intestines and other structures. These are protected by your abdominal wall, which is made up of four layers.
Weak spots can develop in the layer of muscle, resulting in the contents of your abdomen, along with the inner layer, pushing through your abdominal wall. This produces a lump called a hernia.
Paraumbilical and umbilical hernias are common as there is a natural weakness in the wall of your abdomen at your umbilicus. This is caused by the way babies develop in the womb.
What are the benefits of surgery?
You should no longer have the hernia. Surgery should prevent the serious complications that a hernia can cause and allow you to return to normal activities.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
In children under the age of about 4, umbilical hernias tend to close. For older children and adults, surgery is recommended as it is the only dependable way to cure the condition.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible.
The operation usually takes about 30 minutes. Your surgeon will make a cut near your umbilicus. They will free up the ‘hernial sac’, place the contents back inside your abdomen and remove the hernial sac. Your surgeon will close the weak spot with strong stitches or a synthetic mesh and close your skin.
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day.
Increase how much you walk around over the first few days.
You should be able to return to work after 2 to 4 weeks, depending on how much surgery you need and your type of work.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Most people make a full recovery and can return to normal activities. However, the hernia can come back.
What complications can happen?
Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.
General complications of any operation
- Unsightly scarring of your skin
- Blood clot in your leg
- Blood clot in your lung
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
Specific complications of this operation
- Developing a collection of blood (haematoma) or fluid (seroma) under your wound
- Injury to your bowel
- Infection of the mesh
- Removing your umbilicus (belly button)