Because an epigastric hernia is likely to enlarge over time and contribute to additional complications, surgery is typically the recommended treatment, even for very young patients. However, surgery may be postponed until an infant is older if issues related to this type of hernia aren't severe or life-threatening.
If the tear or hole is minor, surgical repair may be done with minimally invasive techniques and a few sutures. If the damage is more extensive, mesh may be used to close the hole to reduce the risk of developing another epigastric hernia after surgery is completed.
While precautions are taken during any type of hernia surgery, serious complications may develop when surgery is performed to correct protrusions in the affected area. Patients are urged to seek immediate medical attention if there is an unusual discharge from the surgical site, bleeding that's not stopping, a high fever, difficulty urinating, or pain in the affected area.
If an epigastric hernia goes untreated long enough, a bowel blockage may occur. Should this happen, symptoms experienced may include nausea and vomiting, high fever, and increased abdominal pain. When such symptoms appear, immediate medical treatment is necessary. Treatment should also be sough if a hernia is permanently in the "out" position (incarcerated hernia). This isn't necessarily an emergency, but hernias like this are more likely to starve the blood supply of protruding tissues (a strangulated hernia).
Most people respond well to surgery performed to treat an epigastric hernia. Patients are generally advised not to carry anything heavier than a gallon of milk until recovery is complete after about 6-8 weeks. However, restrictions on heavy lifting and strenuous activities may extend beyond this point. Recommendations specific to a return to normal personal and work-related activities will be made on an individual basis.