What is an Umbilical Hernia?

Before a baby is born, the umbilical cord goes through an opening in the muscle of the abdominal wall.  Once the baby is born, the opening should close.  Some close more slowly than others.  Openings that persists more than a couple of weeks after the baby is born allow intestine to come out of the abdomen and cause the skin of the belly button to bulge.  This is an umbilical hernia.  Some are large, some are small.  Since they rarely cause symptoms and since they are very likely to eventually close by themselves (and since the belly button will probably look better if it’s not operated on), we don’t operate on these hernias in babies.  Umbilical hernias will require repair if they fail to close by the time the baby is a few years old.

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