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Epigastric Hernia Repair Procedures

Epigastric Hernia Repair Los Angeles

A lump or protrusion can occur between the naval and chest.

An epigastric hernia is a hole in the abdominal wall somewhere between the belly button and the chest. It may appear as a lump, and it may grow or shrink in size depending on the time of day, body position, etc. Epigastric hernias can occur in men, women or children.

Hernia Center Los Angeles has experienced doctors who specialize in the treatment of all types of abdominal hernias, offering high quality abdominal hernia surgery.

What causes an epigastric hernia?

Sometimes a baby is born with an epigastric hernia. When this happens, there is a part of the abdominal wall that hasn’t closed properly, leaving a hole.

In adults, too much abdominal pressure can cause an epigastric hernia. It’s can happen to women during pregnancy, for example, when the abdominal wall is stretched to accommodate the growing baby.

Weight gain, fluid in the abdominal cavity, or even repeated strain from coughing can also cause epigastric hernias to form. Sometimes an epigastric hernia will form because of weakness in the abdominal wall after unrelated abdominal surgery.

A congenital weakness in the abdominal wall can go completely undetected for years, and then appear as a hernia.

What procedures are available for my epigastric hernia repair?

The best epigastric hernia repair for you will depend on the exact nature of your hernia. Epigastric hernias may be simple, such as just a small hole in the abdominal fascia. In this case, our hernia surgeons recommend repairing the hernia by returning the bowel to its proper location, and then closing the hole in the abdominal wall. In many cases, an underlay mesh is used, which is placed to remove tension from the abdominal wall during closure. This gives the abdominal wall a chance to heal well in a tension-free environment, which is the key to a successful hernia repair.

Sometimes, patients with an epigastric hernia have an underlying condition called “rectus diastasis” or abdominal muscle separation. This can occur in both men and women, but is especially common after pregnancy. The muscles on either side of your abdomen, the ones that make up your “six pack,” are called the rectus muscles. They normally join at your midline, adjacent to your navel. These muscles can separate or stretch apart, called a diastasis. You can tell you have a rectus diastasis because you will notice your abdomen bulges easily after meals, it is difficult to “suck it in”, and your abdominal strength is reduced.

If your epigastric hernia includes rectus diastasis, your abdominal muscles need to be repaired. The separation of the muscles creates a natural weakness of the abdominal wall, so repair of the muscles at the same time as the hernia will decrease the recurrence rate, be a stronger repair, and will increase the strength of your entire core.

What if my child has an epigastric hernia?

An epigastric hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall, and it needs to be repaired so that your child will grow up safely and naturally, without danger to his or her bowel system. You should schedule a consultation with our pediatric surgeon, Dr. Steven Chen, if you or your pediatrician notice a lump in your child’s abdomen.

In a child, the epigastric hernia repair procedure is usually very simple. The hole is closed with sutures, and the abdominal muscles grow back together as the child grows.

Why wouldn’t I want to have a mesh repair for my epigastric hernia repair?

You may have heard of a “mesh” hernia repair, or know someone who has gotten one. While surgical mesh is an excellent surgical tool for some types of hernia repairs, our reconstructive surgeons do not recommend them for patients who want to retain and improve their natural physiology.

In an “overlay” mesh repair, surgical mesh is used to cover the hole in the abdominal wall on the outside of the hernia sac, much as you would patch a hole in a tire. Rather than returning your abdominal wall muscle to its natural state, a fix of this type just covers the hole. Future strain or expansion could stretch hole beyond the patch, pulling it loose and causing the hernia to return. In addition, the surgical mesh is a foreign substance to your body, so there is always the danger that it will be rejected by your body or that it will not be able to perform its desired function.

But the main reason to avoid an overlay mesh repair is that it has a high failure rate. Well over 50% of overlay mesh repairs result in a recurrence of the hernia.

In an “underlay” mesh repair, the surgeon uses a laparoscopic procedure to approach the tear in the abdominal wall from behind – it’s as if you were patching that tire from the inside. These patches may hold a bit better than an overlay patch, but they don’t restore your anatomy to its original position, and the failure rate for them is still about 20%, compared to less than 1% in the repairs done by one of our surgeons.

Find out about your abdominal hernia surgery options today

If you have an epigastric hernia, don’t wait. Have it repaired on your own schedule at Hernia Center Los Angeles. You don’t want to let it turn into an emergency situation. Our surgeons provide high quality epigastric hernia repair in a private setting.