Digestive and Gastrointestinal Conditions

Umbilical Hernia Treatment

Umbilical hernias usually are harmless, cause no symptoms and go away by themselves. Your child’s doctor will talk to you about surgery to repair the umbilical hernia if either of these is true:

  • Your child still has the hernia by about age 4 or 5. If the hernia has not closed on its own by this age, then it probably will not.
  • The hole in the belly is more than about an inch wide. Holes wider than this usually do not close by themselves. (The size of the bulge is usually not important.)

Surgery for Umbilical Hernia

Umbilical hernias usually are repaired as an outpatient surgery at the hospital. This means your child can go home the same day as the surgery.

At the time of surgery, we will give your child medicine (general anesthesia) to make them sleep without pain. The doctors at Seattle Children’s who give your child anesthesia are board certified in pediatric anesthesiology. They have extra years of training in how to take care of children.

Your child’s surgeon will make a very small cut (incision) at the belly button. The surgeon will gently push the bulging tissue back into your child’s abdomen. Next, the surgeon will sew up the opening in the abdominal wall. Finally, the surgeon will close the incision.

The surgery takes about 30 minutes. Your child will be in the recovery room for another hour.

After Surgery for Umbilical Hernia

We will give your child pain medicine to make them comfortable. After your child goes home, you’ll need to keep the incision clean and dry until it heals. The surgery team will teach you how to care for the incision. They will tell you if you need to limit your child’s activity for a while.

A surgery clinic nurse will call you 5 to 7 days after surgery for a phone follow-up. If all is well, you do not need to return to the surgery clinic. If you or the nurse has any concerns about your child’s healing, we will set up a visit for you.

Contact Us

If you have questions about umbilical hernia treatment, call our General and Thoracic Surgery Department at 206-987-2794, extension 4.