Saturday, June 24, 2017

HEALTHIER YOU: On the (Belly) Button

BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES, OB/GYN

DR. ANNETTE MAYE

June is Hernia Awareness Month and many new parents are discovering that umbilical hernias are fairly common among infants. They are typically caused when the umbilical cord passes through an opening in the baby’s abdominal muscles during pregnancy. The opening usually closes right after birth. If it doesn’t close all the way, a weak spot can develop in the baby’s abdominal wall, making them more susceptible to an umbilical hernia.

When an umbilical hernia develops at birth, it may push the belly button out. Umbilical hernias in newborns will almost always heal without surgery. However, your doctor may recommend surgery if:

  • The hernia hasn’t gone away by age 3 or 4.
  • The hernia is causing pain or restricted blood flow.

Umbilical hernias in adults may occur as a result of:

  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity
  • Previous abdominal surgery
  • Chronic peritoneal dialysis

They’re most common among adults who are overweight and women who were recently pregnant. Women who have had multiple pregnancies are at even greater risk for umbilical hernias.

Umbilical hernias in adults are less likely to go away on their own. They usually grow larger over time and often require surgical repair. Umbilical hernia surgery is performed in two different ways: open hernia repair and laparoscope hernia repair. During a conventional open hernia repair, the surgeon makes an incision below our belly button to access the hernia.

Laparoscopic hernia repair is the less invasive procedure. The surgeon makes several smaller incisions around the hernia site. They’ll insert a thin, flexible tube with a light on the end into one of the incisions. This instrument is called a laparoscope. It allows the surgeon to see inside your abdominal cavity on a video screen.

Regardless of the type of surgery, the procedure is the same. The surgeon will gently push the bulging intestine and abdominal lining back through the hole in the abdominal wall. Then they’ll sew the hole closed. Sometimes they’ll insert a synthetic mesh material into the abdomen to strengthen the area.

For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care Offices at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.

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