Umbilical hernia refers to a condition where your intestine protrudes through the opening of the belly button. This condition generally affects infants, but some people may suffer from it in adulthood as well. Umbilical hernias are common but do not cause any health issues in most cases. However, in some instances, the disorder leads to problematic symptoms.
Symptoms of umbilical hernia:
If you or your child suffers from the symptoms mentioned below, you should seek treatment.
If one or more of these symptoms appear, seeking treatment at the earliest is necessary to avoid further complications.
Complications from umbilical hernia:
Even though complications from the disorder are rare in infants, they are not unheard of. The most common complication occurs when the portion of the intestine protruding from the belly button is trapped. In such a case, blood supply to this region is cut. This can lead to tissue death or gangrene. The infection slowly spreads to the rest of the digestive system, causing a life-threatening situation.
Adults who have umbilical hernia are more likely to suffer from complications of the condition.
Treatment for umbilical hernias:
Treatment differs based on the age of the patient. In most infants, the umbilical hernia does not produce any symptoms. In fact, such hernias typically disappear on their own after a year or two. A doctor may also be able to push the hernia in during a routine check-up. However, you should not try to do this yourself.
When is surgery needed for an umbilical hernia?
An infant requires surgery for the hernia if he/she experiences the following traits-
• The hernia has a diameter larger than half an inch
• The hernia is large and does not decrease in size in the first two years of the child’s life
• Does not disappear even when the child reaches the age of four
• The external portion of the intestine sticks out and gets trapped.
However, in the case of umbilical hernias affecting adults, a doctor will always recommend surgery to avoid possible complications arising from the disorder.
How is the surgery performed?
For both infants and adults with an umbilical hernia, the surgical procedure remains the same. The surgeon makes a small incision at the base of the belly button. The doctor uses this opening to return the external part of the intestine inside the abdominal cavity. Once this is complete, the doctor stitches the incision.
In adults, a supportive mesh is also used to ensure that the intestine does not protrude once more through the belly button.
Laparoscopic hernia repair is suitable for all types of a hernia such as an umbilical hernia. Just like an inguinal hernia, A camera is placed into the abdomen through the muscles. Two small incisions are made for the operating instruments to get through. This is followed by the cutting of the tissue that is placed between a hernia and the intestine. The hole thus gets exposed. Through one of the laparoscopic ports, the hernia mesh gets rolled and is placed into the abdomen. A hernia is then pulled up and the mesh gets secured with 4 sutures. A special device is used to fix healthy muscle.
Hydrocele and Hernia are two different conditions. Hydrocele happens when fluid fills in the scrotum and it swells up. However, Hernia happens when a child’s bowel push through the abdomen wall. This swelling can be into or above the scrotum.
Hydrocele and Hernia can happen on one side or both the side. The main cause for these conditions is an open passage between abdomen and scrotum which has not closed during birth. Children born with low weight or premature child are more prone to Hernia or Hydrocele.
Symptoms and Signs
Hydrocele or Hernia appears when you notice a small bulge or tender mass near scrotum or groin. Generally, these are painless mass. But in some cases, children experience pain and may cry or lift their legs up to the belly.
A communicating Hydrocele or Hernia increases when the child is walking or crying and appears smaller when sleeping. It increases gradually with time.
A hydrocele is not life-threatening. But when Hydrocele is not treated within the time frame, it may result in hernia. As long as contents can be pushed to the abdomen, Hernia is not serious. But if a child suffers from acute stomach ache, vomiting, black and blue area in the groin, and fever or diarrhea, then Hernia has become incarcerated hernia and should be operated immediately.
Hydrocele can be observed for 2 years under the supervision of a Pediatric Surgeon and does not require immediate surgery. However, for Hernia, Surgery is the only option. Any type of hernia should be corrected with surgery at the earliest, as it may get obstructed or strangulated.
Management of Hydrocele and Hernia in Child
Hydrocele persisting in children beyond 2 years age should be treated with surgery. However, Hernia should be treated with surgery as early as possible. The surgery for Hydrocele and Hernia is Herniotomy. A small incision is made at the groin area and the hernia sac is ligated at the neck, after dissecting the sac from the cord structures.
Common Instruction for Children
Some of the common instructions for children are:
No tub baths for at least a week
Avoid playing with sand and mud in gardens for at least a month
Avoid heavy toys and items near the kid, as he may try to lift things up
Avoid wearing tight pants and trousers as it may hurt the operated area
Take Away Message
It is always advisable to consult a Pediatric Surgeon before opting any treatment for Hernia or Hydrocele in a child.
A hernia occurs because of an internal weakening of the abdominal layer, resulting in tearing. The innermost layer of the abdomen forms a sac and pushes the weakening area. This results in the abdomen tissue being slipped into the sac, causing pain and other health problems. It can occur to both men and women. Apart from natural weakness of the abdomen, a hernia can get triggered from heavy weight lifting, constant coughing, gaining weight and from an irregular bowel movement. 80percent of hernia cases originate near the groin.
What are the symptoms?
Some of the common symptoms of a hernia include:
How is a laparoscopic hernia performed?
This mode of surgery uses a telescope-like instrument known as the laparoscope. With the help of a small incision, the laparoscope is inserted at the belly button. Since the procedure is performed with anesthesia, it is essential for a doctor to do a routine medical check-up that evaluates the general health of the patient, past medical history, EKG, blood work etc.
Usually, the patient doesn’t feel a thing while the surgery is performed. A video camera is connected to the instrument to get a detailed inside view of a hernia and the area that needs to be repaired. Before this, the abdomen is inflated with the help of carbon monoxide. A mesh is placed inside the abdomen to fix the defects of the abdominal wall and strengthen the weakened tissue of the abdomen. Once the procedure is done, the incisions that are made in the abdomen is closed with the help of surgical tapes. The mark of incision disappears within a month.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery
The benefits of laparoscopic surgery are quite evident.
What to expect after the surgery
Doctors often suggest a week of complete rest after the surgery. The healing time can vary from person to person. A surgeon typically prescribes antibiotics and pain medications to cope up with the wound and pain. It must be ensured that these medicines are taken on time. A revisit to the surgeon might be required after a couple of weeks to assess the recovery.
A ventral hernia is easily identifiable as it is characterized by a protruding bulge in the abdominal area. Common spots for a ventral hernia include the area from the breastbone to the navel.
A ventral hernia may occur to someone who has undergone recent surgery in the abdominal region; anyone with congenital deformity having thin abdominal walls; or a person with a previous history of abdominal hernias.
How to Identify Ventral Hernia?
Symptoms of a ventral hernia take weeks to develop. You should consult the doctor if you notice the following warning signs –
Most prevalent methods of diagnosis include imaging tests like abdominal ultrasounds, CT Scans and MRI.
Surgical Treatments for Ventral Hernia:
If left unattended, a ventral hernia can lead to serious complications. Following are the treatment options available if one resorts to surgery.
• Mesh Placement surgery – In this process the surgeon pushes the bulging tissue back in place in a way so that it stays there. It is considered one of the safest and reliable modes of treatment. It also reduces the possibility of a recurrence.
• Laparoscopic Repair – During this process, a small camera is inserted through the incision. The surgeon identifies the damaged area and fixes it with or without a mesh. The benefit of this kind of surgery is that the cut is smaller which reduces the chance of infection. Postoperative pain is almost negligible and recovery time is much faster.
• Open Surgery or Non-Laparoscopic – In this kind of surgery the doctor makes a medium size incision adjacent to the hernia and repositions the tissues. Here again, the mesh may or may not be used. However, in this process, the recovery period is slightly longer.
Long Term Effects of Surgical Treatments:
Surgical treatments of a ventral hernia rarely come with any complications. One needs to rest for only a few days before resuming an active life. In fact, surgery prevents chances of reoccurrence of a hernia in the future.
Hiatal Hernia takes place when the upper portion of the stomach pushes itself through an opening in the diaphragm, into the chest cavity. The diaphragm is a wall of thin muscles, which separates the chest cavity and the abdomen.
In most cases, a small hiatal hernia doesn't cause problems, and you may never know you have a hiatal hernia unless your doctor discovers it when checking for another condition.
But a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid to back up into your oesophagus, leading to heartburn. Self-care measures or medications can usually relieve these symptoms, although a very large hiatal hernia sometimes requires surgery.
Hiatal hernia is primarily or most commonly caused due to the increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity. Sometimes, a lot of pressure may be felt around the stomach accompanied by coughing, vomiting, strain during bowel movements. For people born with an abnormal hiatus, the chance of getting hiatal hernia is more.
The two common types of hiatal hernia are:
Usually, no symptoms are experienced during Hiatal Hernia. Some symptoms are experienced that happen due to stomach acids, bile or air, which enters the oesophagus. Some common symptoms include:
Tests for Diagnosis -
Several tests can be carried out for the diagnosis of hiatal hernia. They include:
Medicines which are used to cure a hiatal hernia may include antacids for neutralizing stomach acid, H2 receptor blockers to lower acid production and proton pump inhibitors.
Sometimes fundoplication surgery is required for the treatment of hiatal hernia, although it is rare. Some common surgical techniques are rebuilding of oesophageal muscles or surgery to put the stomach back in its actual place. Laparoscopic surgery methods are used.
Hiatal hernia may reoccur even after surgery; so general precautions should be taken. You should:
Hiatal hernia is a disorder which is more common among people over the age of fifty. Necessary precautions and treatment should be adopted in case of hiatal hernia.
When an organ residing in a cavity such as the abdomen tries to push through the muscular layer it resides in, it is called as hernia.
Though said to be genetic, hernias can be caused by things such as improper heavy lifting, incorrect posture, or chronic constipation and as a result of surgical complication or injury. Factors like obesity, pregnancy, smoking, chronic lung disease aggravate the severity of the hernia. It is believed that about 27% of all males and 3% of females can have a hernia during their lifetime.
Types of hernias:
These are the most frequent types, though hernia affects other organs like the spine, brain, appendix, etc.
This includes a combination of constant monitoring followed by a decision to do surgical treatment. Hiatal hernias and umbilical hernias can be monitored for a while before deciding on surgery. Inguinal hernias may require surgery earlier in the stage. Post-surgery, a mesh is placed to hold back the tissue in its corrected place. The umbilical hernia in children could be self-limiting. If it does not get auto-corrected in the first year of life, that also would qualify for a surgical treatment. Hernias need to be managed under medical supervision.