Umbilical hernia

Hernia (lump) near your belly button

If you have an umbilical hernia, our experts at HCA UK have the experience and expertise to treat it


Hernias are caused by a weakness in the muscle or tissue wall which allows an internal part of the body to push through. An umbilical hernia is a common type of hernia that affects the area around your naval (belly button). If there is a weakness or hole around your naval, tissue or parts of your bowel may push through and create a lump.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of an umbilical hernia icon plus

    Hernias generally cause no or very few symptoms. If you have an umbilical hernia, you may notice a swelling or lump (bulge) in your belly button (naval area).

    You may be able to push the lump back in or it might appear to go away when you lie down. If you cough or strain, the bulge may re-appear.

    Sometimes hernias can suddenly cause severe pain and vomiting. This happens when fatty tissue or parts of the bowel get caught in the hernia. This is called strangulation or incarceration and emergency surgery is needed to solve the problem.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your GP or consultant will examine your lump and the affected area. This may be enough to identify you have a hernia.

    It may be necessary to carry out an ultrasound scan. This is a painless and non-invasive procedure that will help to confirm your diagnosis and assess its severity.

    During your consultation, the following factors may be taken into consideration before surgery is recommended:
    • The risk of strangulation (this can be higher with certain types of hernia or if the hernia contains muscle, other tissue or parts of your bowel).
    • If your symptoms are changing or getting worse.
    • The effect it is having on you and your everyday life.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    If your consultant recommends surgery, the procedure is relatively straightforward and usually involves a general anaesthetic.

    There are two ways hernias can be treated surgically:
    • Keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery. This involves two to four tiny cuts made near your naval, so the hernia can be pushed back into your abdomen.
    • Open surgery. In this procedure, a larger cut is made in the skin and your recovery time may be longer.

    A special mesh is often used to strengthen the area and prevent the hernia returning. Alternatively, the muscle layers may be stitched together to make them stronger.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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