Umbilical hernia repair is a simple and quick operation. It takes only about 20 to 30 minutes. Also, it is generally possible to go home on the very same day. But then some people stay overnight in hospitals if they only live alone or they have some other medical problems that should be treated.
An umbilical hernia happens when a loop of intestine thrusts at the umbilicus (belly button) through the umbilical ring. The umbilical ring is a fetus’ small opening in the abdominal muscles. It is through which the umbilical cord passes.
• It is said that 20 percent of babies are born with umbilical hernias. Most babies with these hernias will naturally close when the child reaches the age of 5.
• Sometimes, there are cases when the protruding intestine will be “strangulated” in the abdominal wall. This results in a loss of blood supply to the intestinal tissue. That’s when this becomes a medical emergency. The physician will most likely advise you to get yourself admitted to the emergency room.
• Umbilical hernias are often found in newborn babies but this condition can also occur at any age group. When adults have this condition, it will not close naturally unlike a child’s. The only option is to undergo surgery to repair a strangulated or a painful hernia.
Before the operation, the medical staff will give you instructions about when to stop drinking and eating. You will meet the anesthetist, surgeon, and nurse at the hospital. Often times, the surgery is performed under general anesthetic. In other words, you are going to be asleep while you are being operated upon. You will not experience any pain while the procedure is being carried out. If the anesthetic is used, it is in either as a gas and inhaled. Otherwise, it is in a form of injection done into the back of your hand. If it is your child that’s going to get the surgery, you can stay with them until they fall asleep and taken to the operating room.
On the other hand, a local anesthetic is to merely numb you while you remain awake as the surgeon is performing the operation. Sometimes, they use the general anesthetic, though. The use of local anesthetic is used considerably in adults when it is a small hernia and they are not in the good health condition to receive a general anesthetic for the procedure.
During the operation, the surgeon will cut about 2 to 3 cm at the base of your belly button. Next, the surgeon will loop or push the fatty lump of bowel back into your abdomen or tummy. At the delicate spot in the abdominal wall where a hernia has come through, the muscle layers are stitched together to make them strong. A special mesh patch might be used to place in the abdominal wall to make the area stronger for adult and large umbilical hernias. The wound is on the skin surface will be closed with special surgical glue or dissolvable stitches. There are times when pressure dressing is applied. It usually stays there for 4 or 5 days.
After the operation, even though it may only take 30 minutes at most, you will not be at the ward for about an hour. In the case it is your child that has undergone the surgery, you will be brought to the recovery room the moment they wake up so you will be with them when they’re moved back to the ward.