Umbilical Hernia

umbilical-hernia
An umbilical hernia occurs when a loop of intestines bulges through the small opening near your belly button (navel). It is common among infants but can also develop in adults. Our team at Nova Bariatrics and General Surgery, led by Dr. Alibhai, offers detailed diagnosis and treatment measures for umbilical hernia in Irving, Arlington, and Paris. You can rely on our trained professionals to provide you with the highest level of care. 

Causes

During pregnancy, a tube-like structure connects the fetus with the mother’s body, known as the umbilical cord. It passes through the baby’s abdominal muscles through a small opening called the umbilicus. In most cases, this opening in the abdominal wall closes after birth. However, if the muscles do not mature completely, they may leave a small gap through which the intestines may protrude and form a lump.

Umbilical hernias are rare among adults, but they may develop due to certain factors. They include:

  • Obesity
  • Chronic coughing
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • History of abdominal surgery
  • Prolonged constipation
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Undergoing peritoneal dialysis for kidney failure

Diagnosis

An umbilical hernia is easy to diagnose during the clinical examination. Our doctor will inquire about your baby’s medical history and the symptoms they experienced during this period. We will also perform a physical exam to determine if the hernia is reducible, i.e., it can be pushed back into the abdomen. 

In some cases, we may need to perform an ultrasound or CT scan to visualize the position and severity of the hernia. If the hernia seems strangulated or has a reduced blood supply, we will take immediate measures to avoid necrosis (death of tissues). 

Treatment for Umbilical Hernia

The treatment for umbilical hernia varies, depending on the age of your baby, its severity, and other factors. In the majority of cases, these hernias close on their own by the age of 1 or 2. If it persists but is small in size, it is likely to close without surgery by the age of 5 years.

However, if the hernia keeps increasing in size as your baby grows and is still present after age 3, it may require surgical repair. For infants and young children, surgery is usually reserved for hernias that:

  • Cause severe pain
  • Are bigger than 1 to 2 cm in diameter
  • Do not close as the child ages
  • Keep growing in size
  • Become trapped or strangulated

An adult with a painful or large umbilical hernia will also require surgery. The surgical process is carried out under general anesthesia. It involves making an incision near the umbilicus and pushing the protruding intestines back into the abdominal cavity. We will then repair the abdominal wall with stitches. In adults, we may place a small mesh to reinforce the abdominal wall.

Schedule An Appointment With Us

If you or your child develops an umbilical hernia, don’t wait too long. Consult our specialists for advanced treatment measures. Visit our practice or call us today for an appointment. 

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