Umbilical hernias can be a painful condition. However in some cases Umbilical Hernias can go undiagnosed and non-painful.
The second most common type of hernia in the United States is an umbilical (or belly button) hernia. The umbilical hernia occurs equally in men and women and usually don’t cause any symptoms at first but can increase in size and become uncomfortable and even painful. Many patients have always just thought that they had an “outey” belly button, not recognizing that the bulge was actually an umbilical hernia.
Most umbilical hernias are small and just contain a little bit of fat. These hernias are very unlikely to cause any significant problems. Umbilical hernias also rarely become symptomatic. However, a small percentage of umbilical hernias will increase in size over time and can become quite painful and cosmetically unappealing. There are two main reasons to repair umbilical hernias:
- They are painful or become painful when coughing or lifting heavy objects
- You are unhappy with the cosmetic appearance of the bulge
Surgical repair of umbilical hernias require removal of any fat in the hernia sac and closure of the hole in the abdominal wall muscles with a small sheet of a soft, plastic like mesh. This can be accomplished one of two ways:
- Open Repair: A smile shaped incision is made just below the belly button and the hole is either closed with sutures or patched from the outside with the mesh.
- Laparoscopic repair: The incisions are placed far over on the left side of your abdomen and the hernia fat is removed and the hole is patched through these incisions. No incisions are placed in or near the belly button.
Typically, I prefer to repair umbilical hernias laparoscopically because it offers a stronger repair with a lower chance of the hernia coming back offering a much better cosmetic appearance since the incisions are not located near the belly button. Most patients are up walking within a few hours after surgery and require very little pain medication. Although I recommend a week off of work after the procedure, those with desk jobs are usually back to work within a few days. Repairing the hernia using the laparoscopic technique reduces your recovery time versus the open operation for umbilical hernia repair which may require up to 4 weeks recovery.
If you think you may have an umbilical hernia, call our office at: (248) 413-2670 to make an appointment to see Dr. Weiner.