What Is The Umbilical Cord?

The umbilical cord is a structure of tissue connecting babies to their mothers that allows the mother’s body to provide the baby with nutrients and oxygen while the baby is in the womb. When the baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and the baby can begin to breath and feed on its own.

What Is An Umbilical Hernia?

In most cases, the umbilical cord will dry up, the opening it is attached to will close, and the remnants will fall off, revealing the baby’s belly button. But in some cases, the muscles around the hole are weak and don’t close properly and tissue begins to herniate and bulge at the belly button. Some umbilical hernias will close up on their own, however hernias that do not close up by the time an infant enters the toddler phase may need to be surgically operated on to be repaired. Doctors may recommend a laparoscopic umbilical hernia repair for hernias that do not close and are larger than 4 cm. Genetics, premature birth, and low birth weight may increase a baby’s chances of developing an umbilical hernia. Obesity and weak abdominal muscles later on in life can exacerbate umbilical hernias.

What Is Laparoscopic Umbilical Hernia Repair?

Umbilical hernia repairs are done on both infants and adults who suffer from umbilical hernias. Some doctors choose open surgery, which requires some cutting of the belly button and abdomen to get to the hernia; others choose laparoscopy, as it is less invasive. In a laparoscopic umbilical hernia repair small incisions are made in the skin above and below the belly button. Surgeons are careful to avoid cutting into the herniated tissue. Using the openings in the skin, surgeons will insert trocars, metal devices that will act as ports of entry for the specialized tools needed during a laparoscopy. The abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide to give the surgeon visibility inside the abdomen. Fat and other tissues are moved to create room for the laparoscopy (a surgical camera). The laparoscopy and other surgical tools are inserted into the abdomen. The hernia is identified (often in umbilical hernias the hernia has a sac formed around it) and reduced by the surgeon. The surgeon will tighten up the hole in the abdominal wall to prevent future herniation.

Why Laparoscopic Umbilical Hernia Repair?

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive technique that is safer for patients. For younger patients this means a reduced probability for bleeding during recovery time and a quicker recovery.

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