Umbilical Hernia Treatment: Small umbilical hernias that cause no symptoms can be monitored without surgery with
‘watchful waiting.’ When there are symptoms, surgery is usually recommended. If an
umbilical hernia results from pregnancy, a physician might ask the patient to finish
having children prior to undergoing surgery to decrease the chance of the hernia coming
back. Similarly, infants born with a belly button hernia will often be watched for
several years without repairing the hernia, as it sometimes goes away on its own.
Surgery can be performed with an open technique (larger incision) or a laparoscopic
technique/Minimally Invasive (several small incisions) using a camera and long instruments. There are
many variations of repair, the majority of which will include using a piece of mesh.
Mesh is usually made up of synthetic plastic, polyester, or biologic/organic
Very small umbilical hernias may be able to be repaired without mesh using sutures or
stitches alone. Additionally, small children typically do not have mesh
repairs because they are still growing, and the mesh will not grow with them.