A physical examination is often all a doctor needs to do to diagnose an umbilical hernia. If they suspect that the patient may have related complications, they might recommend certain imaging studies to get a closer look. These may include a CT scan of the abdomen or an abdominal ultrasound.
By age one or two, the majority of these hernias will close on their own. In some cases, the bulge can be pushed back into the abdomen by the doctor when they are performing a physical exam. It is important that parents do not try alternative treatment methods to push the hernia back in. This could result in injury to the child.
Surgery might be warranted for children if they meet the following criteria:
- The hernia is causing pain
- After their second birthday, the hernia does not get smaller
- The tissue gets trapped
- The size of the hernia exceeds 0.5 inches
- The hernia blocks the intestine
- By age four, the hernia is still present
Doctors might recommend surgery to adults if their hernia is painful or growing. It may also be done to prevent the patient from experiencing complications.
During the procedure, the tissue that is herniated is put back into the abdominal cavity. Stitches are used to close the abdominal wall opening.
A doctor should evaluate any suspected umbilical hernia. They will work with their patient to determine which type of treatment is needed to correct the issue.