Umbilical Hernia Surgery: What to Expect

Your abdomen, no matter the shape, should be even and equally flush. Strains and injuries can sometimes result in hernias, causing an area on your mid-section to project outward. When your navel projects, and is accompanied by pain or pressure, you might be experiencing an umbilical hernia. These types of hernias aren’t uncommon — around 10% of abdominal hernias are umbilical hernias. There is a spectrum of severity with these umbilical hernias, but wherever you are on this spectrum, waiting for it to go away could make it worse, or allow complications to develop. 

Michael Sutker, MD, is an experienced and respected professional in the field of bariatric surgery. Our practice treats umbilical hernias with sensitivity to your pain, and we’re ready to work with you to get the best possible outcome. 

Do I need umbilical hernia surgery?

Whether or not you need umbilical hernia surgery, a visit to Dr. Sutker is the best place to start. During your first appointment, we’ll go over your medical history, examine your hernia, and make the best recommendation based on your needs. Every hernia doesn’t require surgery, but some hernias absolutely do. For instance, small hernias can be repaired with sutures alone, but larger hernias (>2 cm) will typically require mesh. If your hernia is causing you uncomfortable pressure or pain, Dr. Sutker may prefer to operate to repair your hernia. If you aren’t experiencing any pain, swelling, or discoloration, Dr. Sutker has other options available.

In adults, umbilical hernias can be exacerbated by cutting off circulation to the abdomen’s compressed wall. This is called, “strangulation,” and when this happens, you may see bruising in the area, feel nausea or pain in the area, or start vomiting. Cases of hernia strangulation should be treated with surgery as soon as possible. 

Part of your treatment depends on the size of your umbilical hernia. Larger hernias are usually recommended for surgical treatment, and may involve adding a mesh to prevent a larger one from happening to you. Pain or discomfort associated with a hernia are also reasons that Dr. Sutker could suggest surgical intervention. 

The procedure

We offer two types of umbilical hernia surgery: robot-assisted and open surgery. Dr. Sutker uses da Vinci robot-assisted surgery on candidates whose needs and medical history are a match for this treatment. Da Vinci robot-assisted surgery makes smaller incisions, condenses recovery time, and offers a less-painful experience. If Dr. Sutker chooses a traditional hernia repair surgery for you, he places you under general anesthesia, and the procedure takes approximately 30 minutes to an hour. In both types of surgery, Dr. Sutker makes an incision near your belly button, replaces your organs, and closes the sutures. 

When we schedule your procedure, Dr. Sutker will give you a cut-off time for food, beverages, and certain medications. As a general rule, fasting for six hours before going under general anesthesia is recommended. 

Both procedures are typically outpatient, though you may be kept overnight for observation if Dr. Sutker deems it necessary. 

Umbilical hernia surgery recovery

For two weeks after your procedure, you should be judicious when lifting anything heavier than twenty pounds. Listen to your body, and take care of it by resting when you’re tired. Whatever you do, don’t strain yourself. This could loosen your sutures and send you back to the hospital. Gentle exercises, like walking, are therapeutic and can help you heal effectively. Your regular, balanced diet shouldn’t have to change very much, but watch for constipation in the days following your procedure. If you work a non-physically demanding job, you could be back to work in as little as two days. 

Dr. Sutker will send special instructions home with you regarding how to keep your incision area clean and dry and additional recommendations for comfort and therapy. If you have a bulge in your abdomen, especially one that causes pain, please call us at 972-544-1630, or book an appointment with us online. 

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