Bariatric Surgeon with over 550 Successful Bariatric Surgeries & 9000 Laparascopic Surgeries in 12 years

Umbilical (navel) Hernias


Umbilical (navel) Hernias & Other Midline Hernias(Also para-umbilical, supra-umbilical and epigastric hernias)These hernias can all be called primary midline abdominal hernias.


Umbilical (navel) hernias occur actually in the middle of the navel. The inside of the navel sticks out. Sometimes the swelling is just above the navel so you will see a swelling just above the umbilicus. In fact you can get a hernia anywhere down the middle of your abdomen, from navel to breast bone.


KEY 1. Epigastric 2. Diastasis** 3. Supra-umbilical 4. Umbilical


When they occur a bit higher up they are called epigastric hernias. So these hernias always occur in the midline, straight down the middle, because they come out between the two rectus muscles. The lump may sometimes seem to be off to one side, but the actual defect (the hole) is always in the midline.


What would I see?

A bulge or lump beneath the skin. It can vary in size, from the size of a small grape to a large grapefruit. It depends how big the hole becomes and how much pushes out.


**A Word About Diastasis

Diastasis is of Greek origin (隆旅略・・留・旅・) and means 'separation'. The Latin derived word is 'divarication'.In this context, it describes a situation where the two vertical muscles on the front of the abdomen separate down the middle. The thin line, or membrane between them stretches, but there is no hole. This is not a hernia.



How do I know if I have Diastasis/Divarication?

Typically everything looks normal when you are standing, maybe a bit of a bulge or prominence, but when you sit up or get up from a lying position you see a vertical ridge running from the breast bone to the navel. It can be quite prominent and sometimes very alarming, but a Diastasis or Divarication is not a hernia. In fact attempts to correct it with surgery are usually unsuccessful.



Some call it a 'ventral hernia' - this worries and confuses patients and makes them think they need an operation. A prime example of the need for an expert diagnosis and sound advice.So if it is not a hernia but a Diastasis/Divarication, our advice is to leave it alone.


When it is a hernia, what is the lump?

It is usually fat that lies beneath the muscle (part of our natural padding). Sometimes though, it may be intestine, and if that gets trapped then you have a problem.


Repair it or 'wait and see'?

You should repair it as soon as possible.These hernias can be relatively painless but if left alone they always enlarge. Like all hernias, if left alone they:

  • Run the risk of strangulating
  • Are more difficult to repair


Best repair?

Using mesh gives the best, most secure repair, but it has to be done properly. Our experience proves that the mesh should be placed beneath the split or hole. Putting it on top, a commonly used approach, can lead to all sorts of problems such as fluid accumulation under the skin and infection.


Open or keyhole repair?

Both work well. Laparoscopic (keyhole) repair though, is now considered as GOLD STANDARD for hernia surgery and 95% of our hernias are now done laparoscopically.