Umbilical Hernia

Definition: A protrusion of a portion of abdominal organ(s) through the umbilical ring, which is the muscle tissue around the navel (belly-button).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors: An umbilical hernia in an infant is caused by the incomplete closure of the umbilical ring (muscle), through which the umbilical blood vessels passed to provide nourishment to the developing fetus. The hernia is noticed as a soft swelling beneath the skin that often protrudes with crying or straining. Depending on the severity, the area varies in size from 1 to 5 centimeters in diameter. Small hernias usually close without treatment by age 1 or 2. Umbilical hernias are usually painless.

Symptoms:  A soft protrusion over the umbilicus, ranging in size from 1 to 5 cm in diameter

Signs and tests: A physical examination reveals the hernia.

Treatment: Usually, no treatment is required unless the defect persists past the age of 2 years. In rare cases, bowel tissue becomes strangulated (lack of blood flow to a section of bowel) and surgery must be performed immediately.

Expectations (prognosis): Most umbilical hernias resolve without treatment by 2 years of age. Those that persist, are usually successfully treated by surgery.

Complications: Strangulation of bowel tissue is serious, and requires immediate surgery (rare).

As with any procedure we perform, your child's safety and well-being our #1 priority.  As always, feel free to contact us with any question that you have.  We would be happy to answer it for you.