A hernia usually occurs when an internal organ of an individual’s body squeezes or pushes through a weak spot surrounding the muscle or fascia (connective tissue) tissue. It generally develops in the groin area and abdominal wall area.
A hernia that takes place near the belly button or the umbilicus is called paraumbilical or umbilical hernia. In this health condition, the navel and abdominal wall gets damaged. Typically, in infants, the navel or belly button hole tends to shut- off soon after the baby is delivered. But, in the case of an umbilical hernia, the abdominal muscles fail to completely join together and the tissues and intestines surrounding the navel bulge through the weak spot near the umbilicus. This means, umbilical hernia mainly occurs when the abdominal muscle opening that helps to let the umbilical cord pass through fails to completely close.
Generally, umbilical hernia does not cause any discomfort and it is painless. While it may be large in size, the lump resolves on its own without necessitating any hernia treatment as a child ages to 2 (or 3) years. However, if the umbilical hernia is persistent at age 4, it may require surgery.
When the abdominal content protrudes out, along with the bowel and mesenteric fat, the condition is termed paraumbilical hernia. It occurs in the ligaments or muscles located close to the navel that is observed as weak points. This leads to discomfort because the fatty tissues get confined in one place, which is visible as a lump that can be seen or felt.
While an umbilical hernia is commonly observed in newborn infants, paraumbilical hernia, however, is observed mostly in adults.
An umbilical or paraumbilical hernia in adults may frequently occur due to the following factors:
Post-surgery, paraumbilical hernia repair recovery takes a few weeks. Activities of daily living may be limited for the next two weeks.
While there are rarely any complications from the surgery, there are possible problems such as:
For more information, check with Our Hernia Specialist and seek immediate help!
Senior Consultant Surgeon
MBBS (Singapore), FRCS (Edinburgh), MMed (Surgery), MSc (Bioinformatics),
FAMS (General Surgery)
With 20 years of surgical experience, Dr Lee is trained and skilled in using minimally invasive techniques for liver, pancreas, gallbladder and hernia procedures.
His busy practice aside, Dr Lee is actively involved in postgraduate teaching and workshops for junior surgeons, and is still actively involved in academic research at the National University of Singapore.
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