An umbilical hernia, or belly button hernia is the abnormal widening of the opening in the muscles directly underneath the patient’s navel or belly button. It can be present from birth or can develop over time as a patient ages. An “outie” belly button is usually just an untreated umbilical hernia. Small umbilical hernias typically are filled with a small amount of fat that originates in the abdominal cavity. If allowed to become larger over time, eventually a part of the intestines can protrude through the umbilical opening in the abdominal muscles. When seen in infants or young children, these hernias are usually not harmful and are just monitored because a majority will close down on their own. If not closed down by the age of 5, surgery is the only real treatment because the hernia will typically not go away and can get bigger over time.
The hernia will create a bulge or swelling felt at the base or immediately next to the belly button. As it grows, the hernia will cause the belly button to “pop out” similar to what can be seen in a pregnant woman. The bulge may appear to grow when straining or coughing and may appear to get smaller when the abdominal wall is relaxed and the patient is lying down on their back.
If you believe that you have an umbilical hernia, contact the office and discuss the symptoms and signs with the doctor. Come into the office right away or seek emergency care if you experience a bulge in your belly button along with:
Prompt attention will prevent further complications from developing.
For most older children and adults affected by an umbilical hernia, surgery will likely be required to address the issue. A laparoscopic procedure will be used to return the contents within the umbilical hernia back into the abdominal cavity. The hole in the abdominal wall will be repaired, and that repair will be reinforced with a mesh to prevent the hernia from coming back. It is best to undergo surgery when the hernia is diagnosed so as to avoid further complications, rather than waiting for it to enlarge beyond a certain point or for symptoms to become severe.
We accept all major insurance plans that provide members with out-of-network benefits. We participate with Medicare and 1199. We do not take Medicaid or any 3rd party managed Medicaid plans at this time. Please call our office for more information at (212) 203-2146.
"Dr. Rosen answered all of my question in a manner that was easy to comprehend and showed his genuine concern for my health."
"Dr. Rosen is a terrific surgeon and sensitive to the needs and differing personalities of his patients."
"I was so happy to have Dr. Rosen as my surgeon. He was caring and extremely competent."
"Friendly, compassionate, and thorough doctor. Very trustworthy."