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Umbilical hernia


A hernia is the displacement of an organ or part of an organ through a natural or abnormal orifice. The umbilical hernia is a protrusion to the outside of the abdominal wall at the navel. It is more common in children than in adults, especially among boys and in people with black skin. This type of hernia is often present at birth and its cause is congenital. Latent in the adult, an umbilical hernia appears as a result of increased pressure within the abdomen caused by pregnancy, obesity or cirrhosis. This displacement is formed by elements normally contained in the abdomen such as fat or a portion of the intestine.


An umbilical hernia is manifested in the following manner:
  • a mass appearing at the navel that can be reintegrated into the abdominal cavity;
  • aesthetic discomfort;
  • rarely, pain without any concrete complications;
  • digestive problems;
  • bowel obstruction or respiratory failure in the most severe cases.

The main complication is when it is no longer retractable and it becomes painful and hard.


The diagnosis of an umbilical hernia is quite simple. The mere sight of a protrusion at the umbilicus, a small retractable mass, is sufficient to make the diagnosis. Additional tests are not usually necessary.


In children, the umbilical hernia does not require action, as spontaneous closure may occur before the age of 4 years. In the case of persistence, surgery may be performed. In adults, it is mainly an aesthetic surgery if there are no complications. To do this, there are several types of interventions: laparotomy, where the surgeon sutures the muscle closed, laparoscopy, less intrusive and with a smaller scar, or the use of a prosthesis, to strengthen the abdominal wall.

There is no way to prevent an umbilical hernia.

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