Epigastric Hernia Surgery in Weirton, WV

Much like umbilical hernias, epigastric hernias tend to be present at the time of birth. While an umbilical hernia usually occurs around the belly button, an epigastric hernia forms anywhere above the belly button and the chest. 

Epigastric Hernia Symptoms

Most epigastric hernias are diagnosed in adults, despite it being an issue typically formed in childhood. Most of the time, the issue is small enough that only the abdominal lining pushes through the muscle wall. Common symptoms of an epigastric hernia include:

  • A bulge in the abdomen between the belly button and chest.
  • Discomfort when bending or lifting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Discoloration above the bulge. Most often a black and blue appearance.

Occasionally, an epigastric hernia may cause tissue to become stuck in the "out" position. This can cause the tissue to become strangulated and lose blood supply to that area. This is considered an emergency and should be treated immediately.

Causes of Epigastric Hernias

n epigastric hernia is most often caused by an inborn defect in the connective muscular tissue in the abdomen. This causes this area to be weaker and more prone to tears. Other possible causes include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Lifting items that are too heavy
  • Straining when coughing or having a bowel movement.

Treating Epigastric Hernias

In children, an epigastric hernia will not heal by itself and will require surgery in order to be fixed. If the doctor believes that the hernia is unlikely to become an emergency, surgery can be delayed until the child is older.

In adults, the issue may not have become apparent to the patient until later in life since the condition has the potential to worsen over time. Surgical repair only becomes necessary when the issue is causing pain or could potentially become strangulated. 

During the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision in the stomach area near the hernia and put the protruding tissue back into place. Then the hole in the muscle tissue will be sewn back together and may be reinforced with a mesh material. 

The patient's activity will be limited for the first two weeks following the surgery, but full activity can typically resume after about a month and a half. 

Epigastric Hernia Treatment Options at Weirton Medical Center

In cases where the hernia is small and isn't growing in size, surgery is not a necessity. For a large hernia, especially if it is causing pain or becoming larger, a doctor will recommend surgery. 

Open Hernia Repair - The surgeon will make an incision outside of the affected area. The protruding tissue will be placed back behind the abdominal wall. The weakened abdominal wall tissue will often be reinforced. Once the incision is closed, the procedure is complete.

Laparoscopic Hernia Repair - This procedure is minimally invasive. During a laparoscopy, the surgeon will create several tiny incisions and operate using a small tube attached to a camera. Small tools will be used to repair the hernia. This option may reduce recovery time, but may not be available to those with large hernias or previous pelvic surgeries.

If you have questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, contact Robotic Surgery at Weirton Medical Center at (304) 914-4250.