Mr Omar Tillo
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
An epigastric hernia is a somewhat common hernia which appears in the epigastric region of the abdominal wall. You will notice a lump appear either below the sternum, breastbone or above the belly button. It is possible to have more than one epigastric hernia at one time. The hernia may become bigger in size over time. For some people, the hernia will cause tenderness or physical pain, while for others it will be symptomless.
The hernia is caused by fatty tissue or part of the bowel which pokes through the abdominal wall. One theory about why epigastric hernias occur is because of tension where the abdominal wall attaches to the diaphragm in the epigastric region. Epigastric hernias can also be caused by factors such as pregnancy, obesity, intense coughing, heavy lifting and intense physical sport.
The epigastric hernia will not go away on its own. Over time, the hernia can grow bigger and cause other complications, such as bowel obstruction or strangulation. To avoid this occurring, surgery is highly recommended.
Those who have an epigastric hernia will be considered suitable for this procedure.
Centre for Surgery only offers this procedure for people who are over 18.
You will need to be a non-smoker, or be able to stop smoking prior to surgery, as well as throughout the recovery period.
An epigastric hernia is a day case surgery, so you will be able to return home once the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off.
There are numerous methods for surgery – open surgery or keyhole surgery.
Open surgery involves the surgeon making an incision over the hernia. If fat is pushing through, it will be removed. If organs are pushing through, the organ will be pushed back into place. The hole where the hernia was will either be covered with mesh or be stitched together. This will help to prevent a recurrence of the hernia. The incision will be stitched shut and covered with a dressing.
Keyhole surgery involves smaller incisions. The surgeon will then insert a laparoscope, which is a tube which will allow the surgeon to see the internal organs. Special tools will then be used to push the hernia back into place. The hole will be covered with mesh or stitched together.
The procedure should take around 30 minutes.
You will be able to return home the same day as your procedure.
You may feel some pain and discomfort for the first few days following the procedure. You may wish to take pain medication to help with symptoms for the first 48 hours.
The dressing will remain in place for 5 to 10 days. During this time it is important to keep the dressing dry in order to avoid any wound infection.
You will have to avoid any strenuous physical activity for at least one month. You will be encouraged to undertake light activities during this time.
You may need to take at least two to four weeks off work to fully recover. Those who have physically intensive jobs may need to take a longer period of time off work.
An epigastric hernia is a lump which appears in the epigastric region. You may have one or more lumps appear below the sternum or breastbone, or above the belly button.
The lump is caused by either fatty tissue or part of the bowel poking through the abdomen, causing a lump. The lump may cause pain or tenderness.
Some people will experience physical pain as a result of an epigastric hernia.
An epigastric hernia may also grow larger over time and cause further problems, so surgery is recommended to fix it.
There are two methods for surgery. During your initial consultation, your surgeon will be able to advise which method is more suitable for you.
You will be able to have open surgery or keyhole surgery.
Open surgery involves one long incision over the hernia, and the hernia is then either removed or pushed back into place. Keyhole surgery involves numerous smaller incisions, and uses a laparoscope to see the internal organs. The hernia is then pushed back into place.
With both options, the hole where the hernia was is either stitched or a mesh is put into place to help strengthen the abdominal wall.
You will need to take at least one to two weeks off work in order to avoid straining the incision site. If you have a physically intensive job with lots of heavy lifting, you may need to take a longer period of time off work.
You will have to avoid vigorous exercise for at least one month. You will be encouraged to undertake light exercise during this time period.