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Dr Tim Neavin
Surgery with Symmetry
Dr Tim Neavin

Umbilical Hernia

The short on umbilical hernias

Today was a fun day to be a plastic surgeon despite having to travel in the rain to the hospital.  A rare event to say the least in sunny Los Angeles.

The best part of the day came when I operated on a dear friend with a big belly button hernia, called an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia in his case resulted from prior laparoscopic surgery that left a rent in the abdominal wall. The abdominal contents ‘herniated’ through and pushed out the belly button making it a big ‘outtie’.

Innies or Outties?

I think it’s fair to say most men and women prefer ‘innies’, although I’m unaware of such a survey in the plastic surgery literature. For most people an umbilical hernia presents no immediate danger.  However, they can potentially cause pain or discomfort. In some cases, they may put the patient at risk for a real problem if the contents within the abdomen get caught within the hernia defect. In very rare cases this can become a surgical emergency.

Depending on the size of the hernia, prosthetic mesh may be required to repair the defect.  In today’s surgery, mesh was not necessary because the defect was small.

The name of umbilical hernia surgery is called umbilicoplasty.  The procedure is most commonly performed through an incision within the belly button. Once the hernia is identified below the skin, the contents are stuffed back into the abdomen and the hernia is sutured closed with or without prosthetic mesh.

Umbilical hernias are also commonly repaired when they are found incidentally during a tummy tuck.  They are usually covered by insurance companies not because outties are ugly, but because of the risk of developing trapped abdominal contents within the defect.

For more information on umbilical hernias or tummy tuck surgery please feel free to contact the office.