Umbilical Hernia – Everything You Need To Know!

Hey, what’s up, you guys? My name is Buck Parker. I am a board certified general surgeon.

In this video, we’re gonna talk about umbilical hernias because I get a lot of questions about umbilical hernias and people get swelling in their belly button, and they wanna know what to do about it, when to do it, what’s dangerous and all that good stuff. So we’re gonna talk about umbilical hernias, all right? Cool.

Let’s start with a little anatomy. As a fetus, we have the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is where the fetus gets the oxygen from the mother. The mother is breathing in, getting the oxygen, putting it into her blood, and then going to the placenta. The placenta then takes that oxygen into the baby from the umbilical cord. After the baby’s born, we start breathing. That umbilical cord is no longer needed. The baby breathes with its lungs and gets his oxygen himself and we cut the umbilical cord and that dies off.

Basically, the umbilical hernia is a hole, an abnormal hole, in the abdominal wall. If you wanna know the definition of a hernia, you can see my other videos. The umbilical hernia is a hole of the strong layers of the abdominal wall. There’s lots of layers to the abdomen. Obviously we have skin, we have some fat, we have muscle, but then we have a couple layers that are called the fascia, and this is the anterior rectus sheath for you nerds out there. The anterior rectus sheath, there’s a hole in that strong layer. Actually, with lots of pressure, that allows any of the abdominal contents to poke through that hole. If you have an umbilical hernia, you have noticed that you have swelling there. It may not hurt. It may just feel a little bit weird under the skin. That’s because there may be some fat from the abdominal wall that sneaks in there, or there may be some fat from the actual inside the abdomen. Or there may be some bowels sticking out if the hernia’s really, really big. There may be bowels out just underneath the skin. So nothing is protecting the bowel except the skin, and you have this hole in the fascia or the strong layer of the abdominal wall.

That is what an umbilical hernia is. It is a hole in the strong layers of the abdominal wall right around the umbilicus, or the belly button, because at some point we needed that umbilical cord to go through the abdominal wall. So that fascia there did not completely cover the abdominal wall because it had to get in there somewhere.

When that umbilical cord dies off, that hole is supposed to close all the way. Close shut. But sometimes it doesn’t. In adults, it may have closed or it may have just been a little, little tiny thing and then over time, with lots of pressure, gets a little bit bigger, a little bit bigger, a little bit bigger until we have something pop through it and we have symptoms. We have pain or something like that.

That’s the quick and dirty about the umbilical hernia. I hope that answers some questions for you.

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