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Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Definition

An umbilical hernia repair is a surgical procedure performed to fix a weakness in the abdominal wall or to close an opening near the umbilicus (navel) that has allowed abdominal contents to protrude. The abdominal contents may or may not be contained within a membrane or sac. The medical name for a hernia repair is herniorraphy.


Purpose

Umbilical hernias are usually repaired either to relieve discomfort or to prevent complications. It is not always necessary to fix an umbilical hernia. If the person is not in pain, the hernia is often not repaired. Complications may develop if pressure inside the abdomen resulting from daily activity pushes the abdominal contents further through the opening. They may then become twisted or strangulated. Strangulation is a condition in which the circulation to a section of the intestine (or other part of the body) is cut off by compression or constriction; it can cause extreme pain. If the strangulation persists, the tissue can die from lack of blood supply and lead to an infection.


Diagnosis/Preparation
Diagnosis

In children, umbilical hernias are often diagnosed at birth, usually when the doctor feels a lump in the area around the belly button. The hernia may also be diagnosed if the child is crying from pain, because the crying will increase the pressure inside the abdomen and make the hernia more noticeable.

Umbilical hernias in adults occur more often in pregnant women and obese persons with weak stomach muscles. They may develop gradually without producing any discomfort, but the patient may see a bulge in the abdomen while bathing or getting dressed. Other patients consult their doctor because they have felt the tissues in the abdomen suddenly give way when they are having a bowel movement. In an office examination, the patient may be asked to lie down, lift the head, and cough. This action increases pressure inside the abdomen and causes the hernia to bulge outward.

A hernia that has become incarcerated or strangulated is a medical emergency. Its symptoms include:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal swelling or distension

  • Pale complexion

  • Weakness or dizziness

  • Extreme pain

When a hernia is present at birth, some surgeons may opt for a "wait and see" approach, as umbilical hernias in children often close by themselves with time. If the hernia has not closed by the time the child is three or four years old, then surgery is usually considered. If the hernia is very large, surgery may be recommended.

Repair of an umbilical hernia in an adult is usually considered elective surgery. The patient's surgeon may recommend the procedure, however, on the grounds that hernias in adults do not close by themselves and tend to grow larger over time.


Preparation

Adults scheduled for a herniorraphy are given standard blood tests and a urinalysis. They should not eat breakfast on the morning of the procedure, and they should wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that they can easily pull on after the surgery without straining their abdomen.


Aftercare

Aftercare will depend in part on the invasiveness of the surgery, whether laparoscopic or open; the type of anesthesia; the patient's age; and his or her general medical condition. Immediately after the procedure, the person will be taken to the recovery area of the surgical center, where nurses will monitor the patient for signs of excessive bleeding, infection, uncontrolled pain, or shock. Hernia repairs are usually performed on an outpatient basis, which means that the patient can expect to go home within a few hours of the surgery. Adult patients, however, should arrange to have a friend or relative drive them home. If possible, someone should stay with them for the first night.

The nurses will provide the patient with instructions on incision care. The specific instructions will depend on the type of surgery and the way in which the incision was closed. Sometimes a see-through dressing is placed on the wound that the patient can remove about three days after the procedure. It may be necessary to keep the dressing dry until some healing has taken place. Very small incisions may be closed with Steri-strips rather than sutures.


Risks

There are surgical and anesthesia-related risks with all surgical procedures. The primary surgical risks include bleeding and infection. Anesthesia-related risks include reactions to the specific anesthetic agents that are used; interactions with over-the-counter and herbal preparations; and respiratory problems. The greatest risk associated with umbilical hernia is missing the diagnosis. Additional risks include the formation of scar tissue and recurrence of the hernia.


Normal results

Umbilical hernia repair is usually considered an uncomplicated procedure with a relatively short recovery period. A study reported in the December 2002 issue of the American Journal of Surgery found that patients who had laparoscopic surgery with the use of a surgical mesh had fewer complications and reoccurrences of a hernia than those with the traditional open surgery. However, laparoscopic surgery took somewhat longer to perform, possibly because the laparoscopic approach is often used for larger repairs.


Alternatives

There are no medical or surgical alternatives to an umbilical hernia repair other than watchful waiting. Since umbilical hernias present at birth often close on their own, intervention can often be delayed until the child is several years old. There is some risk that the hernia will enlarge, however, which increases the risk of incarceration or strangulation.


What are the Aftercare of Umbilical hernias mesh repair?

Aftercare of Umbilical hernias mesh repair will depend in part on the invasiveness of the surgery, whether laparoscopic or open; the type of anesthesia; the patient's age; and his or her general medical condition. Immediately after the procedure, the person will be taken to the recovery area of the surgical center, where nurses will monitor the patient for signs of excessive bleeding, infection, uncontrolled pain, or shock. Umbilical hernias mesh repair are usually performed on an outpatient basis, which means that the patient can expect to go home within a few hours of the surgery. Adult patients, however, should arrange to have a friend or relative drive them home. If possible, someone should stay with them for the first night. The nurses will provide the patient with instructions on incision care. The specific instructions will depend on the type of surgery and the way in which the incision was closed. Sometimes a see-through dressing is placed on the wound that the patient can remove about three days after the procedure. It may be necessary to keep the dressing dry until some healing has taken place. Very small incisions may be closed with Steri-strips rather than sutures.


Why India?

Medical tourism in India has emerged with phenomenal ways. Last year alone, over 200,000 patients came to India for various medical treatment including the Umbilical hernias mesh repair from over 30 countries around the world, USA, Canada, UK, Russia, the Middle East., Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Mauritius, the Central Asian Republics. Umbilical hernias mesh repair performed by doctors and surgeons are considered to be the best in the world. Most of the doctors at leading hospitals have trained and worked abroad some even teach overseas. Umbilical hernias mesh repair comes with high success rates. The medical tourists apart from having their required medical treatments can also have their holidays in India, which can be a great fun and interestingly doesn’t cost much. So even if you have to recuperate for some time, it would be light on your wallet.

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