Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Repair a bulge above the belly button.

Pending Medical Review

Updated 5 December 2021

An umbilical hernia is a protrusion over the belly button that is often visible or felt (the umbilicus). It is possible to develop an umbilical hernia when a portion of the intestine, together with fat or fluid, creates a pouch. A hole in the abdominal wall allows this sac to pass through.

To fix an umbilical hernia, doctors perform umbilical hernia surgery. In most cases, the surgery takes less than an hour and is very effective. Within a few days, most patients are back to their normal routines.

Umbilical Hernia, Adult Male
Umbilical hernia on an adult male.

What Causes an Umbilical Hernia?

Umbilical hernia occurs when the gap in the abdominal muscle through which the umbilical cord passes does not fully seal. Adults can get umbilical hernias, although they are more prevalent in children. (1)

Premature and low-birth-weight newborns, as well as African-Americans, are more likely to develop an umbilical hernia. Boys and girls are equally likely to be affected by the condition, according to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Center (CCHC).

In adults, an umbilical hernia is most commonly caused by excessive strain on a weak area of the abdominal muscles. Overweight, numerous pregnancies, multiple gestational pregnancies (carrying twins, triplets, etc.), abdominal surgery, and a chronic, severe cough are all possible reasons. (1)

Umbilical Hernia, Pregnant woman
Pregnant woman with an umbilical hernia.

Are Umbilical Hernias Common?

There is no longer any need for an umbilical chord after delivery, as the abdominal muscles shut up as the kid grows older. When these muscles do not touch entirely, a tiny gap or hole might be left in the skin’s surface A hernia can be caused by a loop of intestine moving towards and even through the space between abdominal muscles.

In babies, umbilical hernias are the most common, although they can also arise in adulthood. Adult umbilical hernias are caused by the following:

Carrying extra fluid in the abdomen (aspiration), as well as chronic cough and difficulty in peeing owing to an enlarged prostate, are examples of long-term disorders that boost abdominal pressure. (1)

How Much Does an Umbilical Hernia Surgery Cost?

The price of an umbilical hernia surgery varies depending on the clinic and the complexity of the case. Below is a list of prices you can expect to pay in various countries.

Umbilical Hernia Surgery Cost Table
Country Price
United States of America $7,750
Mexico $2,000

Cost data estimated from information gathered by Wesley Jacobs of Apollo Medical Travel based on publicly available price information in the United States and of providers offering umbilical hernia surgery procedures in Apollo’s network of clinics. Prices vary widely by hospital or clinic even within the same geographic area.

Does an Umbilical Hernia Require Medical Attention?

A child’s umbilical hernia usually heals itself by the time he or she is three or four years old. It’s possible that your doctor will advise you to postpone surgery until they reach this age.

When a hernia is:

  • Incarcerated.
  • Larger than two centimeters, about ¾ inch.

Because of their size and location, incarcerated hernias are unlikely to cure on their own.

Adults with umbilical hernias are at an increased risk of having their intestines obstructed. These problems often necessitate immediate surgery.

Reducible and Non-Reducible Hernia

Hernias can be categorized by whether or not the bulge is flattened.

An elongated hernia can be reduced by lying down or putting pressure on it. This sort of hernia does not pose an immediate threat to your health, but if left untreated, it can get more uncomfortable and deteriorate. There are times when a non-reducible hernia arises when the hernia is so large that it cannot be reduced. Non-reducible hernias can be extremely painful and need immediate medical intervention.

Risk Factors for Adult Umbilical Hernias

Hernias are more common in adults who have had several pregnancies and are overweight or obese, as well as those who have previously undergone surgery in the abdominal area and those who have been receiving long-term dialysis via the abdomen (peritoneal dialysis) (1)

How Long Does an Umbilical Hernia Surgery Typically Last?

About one hour is needed to fix an umbilical hernia. Most patients can go home the same day of surgery because it is an outpatient operation. There may be times when premature newborns and patients with various medical issues will need to stay overnight in the hospital for observation. (4)

In Advance of the Procedure

The surgeon or anesthesia doctor (anesthesiologist) will meet with you and provide you with instructions.

Medical history will be reviewed by the anesthesiologist prior to administering any anesthetic. Six hours before to surgery, the patient may be instructed to refrain from eating or drinking anything. Tell your doctor if you’re taking any medications, have any allergies, or have ever had bleeding issues.

Stopping the following medications a few days before surgery may be required:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve, as well as Other blood-thinning medications and some dietary supplements and vitamins.

What Can You Expect During the Procedure?

A general anesthetic will be administered to the patient. The muscles relax and they fall asleep because of taking this drug. During the operation, they won’t feel a thing since they’ll be unconscious.

The physician will next perform the following procedure:

  • Make a tiny incision below the navel.
  • Use a needle and thread to locate the hernia sac.
  • Reposition the intestine behind the muscle wall where it belongs.
  • Remove any residual hernia sacs.
  • Use sutures to reinforce the muscular wall and avoid further hernia.
  • Sew the skin surrounding the belly button to the muscle beneath it using a needle and thread.
Completed Umbilical Hernia Surgery
Completed umbilical hernia surgery on an adult male.

How Can You Take Care of a Patient Following Umbilical Hernia Surgery?

After surgery, it is not uncommon for patient to feel normal by the evening or the next morning. When they’re ready, they can resume eating their usual diet.

To aid in the recovery, patient can:

  • Take pain medication, which one can get from the doctor. It’s common for patients to just take a few doses of this analgesic. After that, you can take over-the-counter analgesics to feel better.
  • Use a sponge bath instead of a tub bath for the first few days following surgery. When it’s safe to take a tub bath, your healthcare practitioner will let you know.
  • Do not do anything that might injure the surgical site. Biking, jungle climbing, and any hectic/intense work. Your healthcare professional will let you know at the follow-up appointment when you are able to resume those intense activities.
  • Reduce the risk of post-operative discomfort by avoiding squeezing or rubbing abdomen after surgery. Water and fiber-rich meals should be staples on your meal plan. Constipation can be avoided with this diet.

Keep an eye on the healing wound.

  • It should take around four to six weeks for the incision site to completely heal. The region will continue to soften and fade over the first year following surgery.
  • Avoid clothing that is too tight, harsh, or scratchy, since this might irritate the incision.
  • Avoid direct sunlight on the skin that surrounds the wound. The new skin is more prone to sunburn.

What Are the Benefits of Repairing an Umbilical Hernia?

Surgery for an umbilical hernia offers several advantages.

The method:

  • In the end, it fixes the issue: If the hernia hasn’t closed on its own, a hernia repair operation is the sole option for treatment.
  • In terms of recuperation, it’s fast: In most cases, patients return to their normal activities within a few days or a few weeks.

Pain and problems are less likely to occur. Hernia repair surgery is necessary for patients whose hernias continue to grow and cause discomfort. In the worst-case scenario, it may be imprisoned (when the intestines are squeezed in the hernia sac). As a result, patient may be in agony and may require immediate surgery

Risks of an Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Umbilical Hernia Surgery only presents a major risk if the patient has other major medical conditions.

Anesthesia and surgery include several risks, including:

  • Medications or respiratory issues that may cause allergic reactions.
  • bleeding, clots, or an infection may occur.
  • Surgery to repair an umbilical hernia has the following risks:
  • Damage to either the small or big intestines (rare)
  • Hernia resurfaces (small risk)

How Soon After My Hernia Surgery Should I Contact the Doctor?

It is typical to have some edema or discoloration around the procedure. In the event of:

  • Bleeding
  • Excessive swelling.
  • Fever
  • Urinary incontinence.
  • Pain that is becoming worse.
  • Skin turning redder.

Do Umbilical Hernias Ever Recur?

The success rate of surgery to correct an umbilical hernia is very high. It may repeat in rare instances. If this happens, you and your doctor can discuss the many treatment options available.

Additional Resources


  1. Armstrong O. Hernies ombilicales [Umbilical hernia]. Rev Prat. 2003;53(15):1671-1676.
    Read on PubMed
  2. Klinge U, Prescher A, Klosterhalfen B, Schumpelick V. Entstehung und Pathophysiologie der Bauchwanddefekte [Development and pathophysiology of abdominal wall defects]. Chirurg. 1997;68(4):293-303. doi:10.1007/s001040050192
    Read on PubMed
  3. Rutkow IM. Epidemiologic, economic, and sociologic aspects of hernia surgery in the United States in the 1990s. Surg Clin North Am. 1998;78(6):941-vi. doi:10.1016/S0039-6109(05)70363-7
    Read on PubMed
  4. Kulacoglu H, Yazicioglu D, Ozyaylali I. Prosthetic repair of umbilical hernias in adults with local anesthesia in a day-case setting: a comprehensive report from a specialized hernia center. Hernia. 2012;16(2):163-170. doi:10.1007/s10029-011-0888-8
    Read on PubMed

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be used as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you have surrounding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it as a result of anything you read on this Site. 

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