About the disease
Epigastric hernia is a protrusion of an epigastric tissue when abdominal wall becomes weak. It can develop in adults who suffer from obesity. Long-term weight lifting which creates constant pressure on the central part of abdomen can also contribute to the development of epigastric hernia. In some cases, pregnancy can cause epigastric hernia, especially if a woman is pregnant with a big baby or carries twins.
Epigastric hernia is also common in newborn babies, whose abdominal muscles not developed very well. In most cases, this condition resolves on its own after abdominal muscles of a child become stronger. In some cases, however, this condition can cause unpleasant feeling and thus requires surgical intervention. Umbilical hernia, which is another common type of this condition among newborns, is similar in its manifestations, although it develops near belly button, whereas epigastric hernia develops in the area between the belly button and the chest.
Epigastric hernia is usually of a very small size and becomes visible only if a child is crying and tries to move his/her bowel. Very often it does not manifest any symptoms, as protrusion is so small and child does not feel it. Usually epigastric hernia resolves on its own until a child is 1 to 2 years old.
Epigastric hernia needs to be resolved surgically if a person develops strangulated hernia, which is a condition when tissue that protrudes forward is deprived of blood for a long time. In this case a protrusion can become deep red in colour and this dead tissue needs to be removed in order to prevent infection.
- Visible protrusion near navel
- Abdominal pain
- Pain during bowel movement
- Diagnosis is usually done during a general examination. An adult patient is asked to move in different positions in order for a protrusion to become visible. A baby is also placed in different position to make hernia visible.
- In some cases, abdominal ultrasound is ordered to examine the abdominal cavity of a patient and rule out other possible complications.
- Laparoscopic surgery with mesh implant is a minimally invasive surgery, used to push the hernia back to its proper position. After that, a mesh graft is used primarily to close the hole and keep the muscle inside the hernia sac, preventing it from protruding again. This mesh implant keeps hernia sac closed without sutures which is an advantage.
- Resection may be used in case a person developed strangulated hernia and dead tissue needs to be eliminated to prevent necrosis.