Conditions & Treatments

Umbilical or Ventral Hernia

This type of hernia is a defect or hole in the abdominal wall at the belly button, or umbilicus.


  • A soft bulge under the skin at the belly button
  • Easier to see when your child sits or stands upright or strains stomach muscles during normal activities such as crying, coughing, or having a bowel movement.
  • Umbilical hernias can vary in size. They are rarely bigger than about 1 in. (2.5 cm) across. Most children don't feel pain from the hernia


  • Umbilical hernias usually close on their own before a baby is 1 year old. If a hernia has not closed by the time your child is 3 years old, your child probably will need surgery to close it.
  • You may want your child to have surgery before he or she is age 3 if:
    • The hernia is large and has not shown any signs of closing by age 2
    • There is another problem, such as an infection
    • The way the hernia looks bothers you or your child

The incision is usually made underneath the belly button. The herniated tissues are isolated and pushed back inside the abdominal cavity then the defect in the muscle is closed with sutures.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Willis Knighton Health