GI Radiology > Hernia > External > Umbilical

Umbilical Hernia

Umbilical hernias occur due to a defect at or adjacent to the umbilicus. In neonates or children, umbilical hernias occur because of a congenital defect. After birth, the umbilical ring normally scars down, preventing herniation. This process may not complete in premature or low birth weight infants, resulting in an umbilical hernia at birth. A protrusion is seen at the umbilicus that bulges when the child cries. Umbilical hernias may resolve spontaneously if they are less than 1.5 cm. Thus, surgery is not considered until the defect persists after 4 years of age.

In adults, umbilical hernias are acquired, often occurring in middle age. These hernias usually extend through a defect in the linea alba and can be associated with diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles. Umbilical hernias are ten times more common in women than men and are associated with obesity, ascites, and other conditions causing increased intra-abdominal pressure. Incarceration is frequent with tenderness and bowel obstruction.


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