Umbilical Hernia Repair

Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


An umbilical hernia occurs when the internal abdominal tissue squeezes through a weakened abdominal muscle. This creates a swollen bulge in the navel area. While a minor umbilical hernia is harmless, a more significant hernia can cause pain. It can also result in more severe complications, such as strangulated hernias. There is a chance of blood supply loss in a piece of extruding intestine in these cases.

An umbilical hernia repair surgery can prevent these serious complications.Umbilical hernias usually occur in newborn babies. This can resolve itself over time. However, if the hernia remains by the age of 3 or 4, a surgical procedure is recommended. In adults, an umbilical hernia can occur due to several reasons. These can include pregnancies, muscle weakening from natural aging, obesity, or genetics. Often umbilical hernia repair is combined with a tummy tuck surgery or liposuction for a better aesthetic appearance.

A typical umbilical hernia repair surgery takes about 20-30 minutes. It requires general anesthetic.

The surgery can either be an open or laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery uses 2 to 3 small incisions in the lower abdomen. The surgeon views the hernia via an endoscopic camera. They treat the hernia through these incisions using surgical tools. They finish by inserting a synthetic mesh to support and strengthen the abdominal wall.

An open surgery first creates an incision below the belly button.
The surgeon will then push the bulging tissue back into position. For children, the weakened muscles will be stitched together for support. Larger hernias in adults will require a mesh to strengthen the tissue. They close the incisions using sutures and apply surgical dressings.

During recovery, patients may experience some soreness. They need to avoid exercising for a few weeks. They will have to take a couple of weeks off work, but patients should return to their normal activities within a month.

For smaller, non-symptomatic hernias, there are alternatives to surgery. These include abdominal binders that exert pressure onto the abdomen, pushing the swollen bulge back into position. This solution is only a temporary fix and does not resolve the hernia permanently.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
1-2 weeks

Umbilical Hernia Symptoms and Surgical Repair, Dr. Hadley Wesson

Dr. Hadley Wesson, a general surgeon from Howard County General Hospital, talks to us about umbilical hernias. She explains why they occur and explains the symptoms that patients may face. She describes the situations in which surgery is recommended. She also talks about the different methods of repair.

When does an umbilical hernia need surgery?

Barun Majumder, a vascular and general surgeon, explains what an umbilical hernia is and tells us when it would need surgery. He tells us about the statistics on this condition. He explains what causes the condition in infants and adults. He also explains the impact that a patient's age will have on the method chosen to correct the defect.

Whats the deal with umbilical hernias? Let's talk all about belly button hernias

Dr. Sepehr Lalezari, a surgeon from Los Angeles, talks about belly button hernias. He explains what they are and talks about the reasons why people get them. He talks about the treatment options that are available and discusses some that have been suggested as non-surgical alternatives.