Stomach hernias or “Belly Button” hernias.

A particular form of stomach abdominal wall or stomach hernia. People often use this term for what is an umbilical hernia. These hernias occur in the navel. These hernias occur at any age. They are particularly common in the newborn and in women. There are 2 other situations which can cause a belly button hernia. They are pregnancy or when there is a large amount of fluid in the tummy – abdomen. This is termed ascites. Surgery is avoided for both if possible.

In the newborn unless they are large surgery is not required. They can be treated by taping a coin over them. The hole will then heal in.If they cause problems or do not disappear by the age of 3 surgery may be required.

In adults belly button / stomach hernias are also very common. They often are very small and are hardly noticeable. Many patients go through life without this small hernia causing any problems because it is just a small lump of fat. The can also become quite large and disfiguring, however any hernia can cause problems such as pain or strangulation. This is particularly dangerous if bowel is present.

Thus these stomach hernias are commonly repaired. The surgery can be carried out under local with sedation.

A small cut – just a few centimeter is required. The hernia is removed or pushed in. The defect is then sewn up. In many cases a non absorbable mesh is used to reinforce the repair. The mesh may be placed on the muscles or underneath the muscles.

The patient can usually go home the same day.

Thus the common belly button hernia may not always require surgery but this is a matter best discussed with a specialist. Observation may be preferred but one has to consider that hernias can strangulate without much warning. Thus if your belly button becomes suddenly painful or you are vomiting with it urgent attention is required.