Hernia (umbilical and paraumbilical) Repair
Hernia repair surgery is a very common procedure. A hernia occurs when an internal organ or fatty tissue pushes through a weakness in the surrounding tissue wall, causing a lump. There are many types of hernia.
Umbilical and paraumbilical hernias are the result of fatty tissue or part of your intestine pushing through the abdomen at (umbilical) or near (paraumbilical) your belly button. This type of hernia can occur in adults as a result of repeated strain on the abdomen, but are most common in infants.
Signs and symptoms
For infants they are painless and typically harmless. They occur if the opening in the abdomen through which the umbilical cord passes does not seal properly after birth. In an infant, an umbilical or paraumbilical hernia may be especially evident when the infant cries, causing the bellybutton to protrude. This is a classic sign of an umbilical hernia. In many cases, the umbilical hernia goes back in and the muscles reseal before the child’s first birthday. If the hernia hasn’t disappeared by age 3 or 4, surgery may be recommended.
For adults the most common symptoms are pain, swelling and discomfort at the site of the hernia. In most cases a hernia will simply contain fatty tissue but should always be examined by your GP immediately because in some cases your intestines or other structures can get trapped and have their blood supply cut off, causing a strangulated hernia. Often, hernias can be pushed in and may disappear when lying down but straining or coughing can make the lump appear again. Surgery is recommended for most adults as the hernia is unlikely to get better by itself.
An umbilical or paraumbilical hernia can usually be diagnosed by physical examination and confirmed by an ultrasound or CT scan.
Following diagnosis, your consultant will advise if surgery is appropriate. This is dependent on:
- your age
- content of the hernia, if the hernia contains a part of your bowel, muscle or other tissue, there may be a risk of strangulation or obstruction
- severity of pain and discomfort
- impact on your day-to-day living
- your general health
Umbilical and paraumbilical hernia repair can be performed as a laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery or open surgery. Either procedure will take around half an hour.
Laparoscopic surgery is performed under general anaesthetic. Small incisions are made to allow you surgeon to insert a thin, lighted scope called a laparoscope through one incision and tools to repair the hernia through the other incisions. Laparoscopic surgery is generally a more attractive option for the patient, as there is less damage to surrounding tissue, reduced scarring and recovery times are much faster. However, not all hernias are suitable for laparoscopic surgery.
Open hernia repair can be done under general, spinal, or local anaesthesia. An incision is made close to the site of the hernia to enable your surgeon to push the hernia back into position and repair the weakened area using stitches or a piece of reinforcing synthetic mesh.
Recovery following surgery
It is usually possible to return home on the day of your surgery. You will need someone to drive you and you should have someone with you for at least 24 hours following a general anaesthetic.
You will need to completely rest for the first couple of days after surgery to heal. After a couple of days, you may feel ready to do light tasks around the home and go for a walk.
After 2 weeks, you should be able to return to light exercise such as jogging, cycling and swimming.
You should be able to return to work 1-2 weeks following surgery, although if your job is physically demanding you will need to take a longer time off.
Complete recovery from hernia repair surgery will take 4-6 weeks. Recovery is generally faster with laparoscopic surgery, rather than open surgery. However, contact sports and all forms of lifting should be avoided until two months has passed to ensure that the tissues have healed properly and minimise the chance of recurrence.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation. Paraumbilical and umbilical hernia repair is available at the One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire and the One Ashford Hospital in Kent.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Hernia (umbilical and paraumbilical) Repair treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience