Umbilical or Paraumbilical Hernias
These are swellings found in or around the belly button. They can be present from birth or develop over time and sometimes occur after pregnancy. Smaller ones usually contain a small amount of fat and can be left alone if not causing symptoms. Large ones can cause discomfort and are often felt to be unsightly.
Repair can be with strong sutures alone or with a synthetic mesh to reinforce the tissues if the defect is greater than 1cm in size. Often this is simplest to perform through a small cut underneath the tummy button where it will be least visible.
Open hernia repair – This is used in small uncomplicated hernias. The incision is usually underneath the belly button. The tummy button will be repaired but will not return completely to normal. Large complicated umbilical hernias may require removal of the belly button. Recovery time will depend on the size of the hernia. Dissolvable sutures are used to repair the skin and a waterproof dressing placed over the wound.
Laparoscopic (keyhole) repair – This usually reserved for recurrent hernias, especially when a mesh has been used previously. Small cuts are made in the abdominal wall to allow the passage of the instruments. The hernia is repaired using synthetic mesh and keyhole fixation devices. The cuts are repaired with dissolvable sutures and a local anaesthetic is given. A waterproof dressing is placed over the sites so you can shower straight away. These should be left for 3 days. On removal if the wound is not dry another dressing should be applied for a few more days.