n South African Journal of Surgery - Complicated umbilical hernia in childhood : paediatric surgery

Volume 44, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



Umbilical hernias occur frequently in children but complications are rarely reported. This study assessed the incidence of complicated umbilical hernias in our patients, evaluated data for risk factors and reviewed our management in the light of these findings. <br>We conducted a prospective study of all children needing umbilical hernia repair for complications over a period of 15 years. Patients with para-umbilical and other ventral wall hernias were excluded. In total, 389 children had umbilical hernias repaired during this period (average age 6 years); 28 (7%) of these had complicated hernias. symptoms included umbilical pain (100%), vomiting (71%) and constipation (28%). The average age of the complicated group was 3 years. All cases had a painful irreducible umbilical mass. Eleven of the 19 children who had an abdominal radiograph showed radiological evidence of small-bowel obstruction and in 5 children there was radiological evidence of pica. Two patients had ischaemic omentum that required resection. Patients who present with localised abdominal pain or an irreducible umbilical mass should be operated on promptly.

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