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A hernia is present at the site of the umbilicus (commonly called a navel, or belly button) in the newborn; although sometimes quite large, these hernias tend to resolve without any treatment by around the age of 2-3 years. Obstruction and strangulation of the hernia is rare because the underlying defect in the abdominal wall is larger than in an inguinal hernia of the newborn. The size of the base of the herniated tissue is inversely correlated with risk of strangulation (i.e. narrow base is more likely to strangulate).
Babies are prone to this malformation because of the process during fetal development by which the abdominal organs form outside the abdominal cavity, later returning into it through an opening which will become the umbilicus.
When the orifice is small(< 1 or 2 cm), 90% close within 3 years (some sources state 85% of all umbilical hernias, regardless of size), and if these hernias are asymptomatic, reducible, and don’t enlarge, no surgery is needed (and in other cases it must be considered). In some communities mothers routinely push the small bulge back in and tape a coin over the palpable hernia hole until closure occurs. This practice is not medically recommended as there is a small risk of trapping a loop of bowel under part of the coin resulting in a small area of ischemic bowel. The use of bandages or other articles to continuously reduce the hernia is not evidence-based.
An umbilical hernia can be fixed 2 different ways. The surgeon can opt to stitch the walls of the abdominal or he/she can place mesh over the opening and stitch it to the abdominal walls. The latter is of a stronger hold and is commonly used for larger tears in the abdominal wall. Most surgeons will repair the hernia 6 weeks after the baby is born.
Umbilicoplasty, sometimes referred to as “belly button surgery”, is a plastic surgery procedure to modify the appearance of one’s navel (or “belly button”). It may be performed as part of a tummy tuck or lower body lift operation, or it may be performed alone.
An umbilicoplasty procedure may last from 30 minutes to 3 hours. It is typically performed under local anesthesia, but the patient may be given a sedative that is administered through an intravenous drip. When done as part of a tummy tuck or lower body lift, general anesthesia is more commonly used. Usually there are no scars, since the incision is usually made inside the cavern of the navel.