What is umbilical hernia?
The protrusion of fat or bowel through a defect in the abdominal wall at the umbilicus (umbilical hernia) or around the umbilicus (peri-umbilical).
It is common to have a small asymptomatic fat-containing hernia at the umbilicus which patients think is a normal “outie”. If the fat is not reducible (cannot be pushed back in), it may be acting as a plug for the small underlying defect. In the absence of symptoms and if the hernia is not getting bigger, it does not have to be repaired. It is important, however, that the patient is aware of it and know to present emergently if it becomes acutely painful.
Larger umbilical or periumbilical hernias and those containing bowel should be repaired. This is particularly important if the hernia is incisional (where the patient has had previous surgery such as laparoscopic procedures requiring port placement around the umbilicus).
Umbilical hernias can be repaired laparoscopically, open or a combination of both (hybrid). The most common technique is open repair with or without a sub-lay mesh.