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The belly button (umbilicus) is a weak area in the abdominal muscles, where there is a bit of fibrous tissue rather than actual muscle. Abdominal contents can protruude through the muscle surrounding the umbilicus causing it to pop outwards. This is usually fatty tissue (the omentum) but it can be bowel. Umbilical Hernia are most common among women before and after their pregnancy.

The aim of the umbilical hernia repair is to close this hole and prevent the hernia.

During your umbilical hernia repair surgery the hernia is identified and pushed back (reduced) into the tummy. The hole is usually quite small and can be repaired with a small number of strong, permanent stitches.

In first time umbilical hernias a mesh is very rarely needed.

Post your umbilical hernia surgery:

  • you will have a bruise.
  • The scar is always numb, and you may get some odd tingling or shooting pains during healing. These are normal and nothing to worry about.
  • The wound may also get swollen, and as the scar tissue forms it can become quite hard and nodular. This always settles down, but it can take a few months.
  • The scar itself will fade and go pale over period of several months.

Other possible complications includ:

  • haematoma - a big blood clot under the skin. This is very rare. If it does happen it usually occurs on the same day as surgery and produces a very large swelling. The treatment is a second operation to remove the blood clot.
  • Wound infection occurs in around 1% of people and is usually treated with antibiotics.
  • The commonest “complication” is that the hernia can come back (recur). This happens in around 5% of cases.
  • some potential complications that can be associated with any general anaesthetic, these include nausea and vomiting, sore throat and headache as well as blood clots in the legs and lungs. All these are very rare with modern anaesthesia, early mobilisation and discharge.

Following surgery, it is helpful to do some exercises to help the muscles recover and to decrease the chances of getting another hernia. If you need help with the rehabilitation, we can recommend physiotherapists and other consultants who specialise in sports and exercise medicine.


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