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Umbilical hernia repair is a simple operation to fix umbilical hernias. An umbilical hernia involves a pouch or bulge forming in the abdomen that occurs when part of the bowel or fatty tissue pushes through a weak spot in or near the belly button. It is common in infants and children, especially in premature babies. In some cases, it may also develop in adults.
Umbilical hernias are easily treatable. In children, they do not always require surgical repair. However, surgery may be necessary if the hernia:
Causes pain and discomfort
Grows after the child is 1 to 2 years old
The intestines are within the bulge
The hernia becomes trapped
The bulge is still present by the age of 4 years.
For most adults with an umbilical hernia, surgery is recommended because the risk of complications is higher and the hernia is unlikely to get better by itself.
Umbilical hernia repair is performed to push the bulge back into place and to strengthen the weak spot in the abdominal wall.
You can gradually resume your normal activities over time until you can do them without feeling any pain. Most patients can perform light activities within 1 or 2 weeks. If you work in an office job, you may be able to return to work in 1 or 2 weeks. However, strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for about 4 to 6 weeks. Therefore, if you work a manual job, it is wise to wait at least 4 weeks until you return to work.
Children can go back to school in about a week, but they should be excused from games and sports for at least 2 weeks. Make sure your children avoid contact sports for 6 to 8 weeks.
Umbilical hernia repair is a low-risk procedure. It is generally safe and effective. However, an umbilical hernia can reoccur. According to a study, the recurrence rate after umbilical hernia repair is 8.9%.
While the procedure is safe, complications can still occur, particularly if you have other serious medical conditions. It is important that you talk to your doctor if you are concerned about the risks. Other risks of the procedure (unrelated to other medical conditions) are:
Injury to nearby structures
Allergic reaction to anesthesia.