What is an umbilical hernia? Ventral hernia? Epigastric hernia?
All of these hernia types occur in the middle of the abdomen (i.e. imagine the middle of the six pack muscle). Umbilical hernias are common as they are a site of abdominal wall weakness from our umbilical cord as babies. Epigastric hernias are usually somewhere above the umbilicus (belly button). Ventral hernias are a blanket term for anything in this midline area – some develop over time and some due to a prior surgery (incisional hernia).
What are common symptoms?
Typical symptoms include pain at the area of the hernia or bulge. Occasionally, nausea or vomiting can occur either due to the pain or from the hernia contents becoming obstructed.
Should I have it fixed?
If you are having symptoms, you should probably have it fixed. Your other health problems, frequency and severity of symptoms, and effect on daily life all help determine the urgency of having a surgery.
How do you fix these hernias?
A discussion with your surgeon will help determine the best way to fix YOUR hernia. There are often multiple ways to fix a hernia, so figuring out the BEST way to fix yours normally takes a consultation and occasionally imaging to determine. Some small hernias are amenable to simple open suture repair (primary repair). Some require minimally invasive approaches such as laparoscopic or robotic surgery. Others may require large, complex abdominal wall reconstruction – which includes a host of complicated procedures utilizing the numerous layers of the abdominal wall to maximize the likelihood of a long-lasting repair.