Asymptomatic Umbilical Hernia

To anyone with knowledge/experience in this area:

I recently discovered that I have an asymptomatic umbilical hernia just above the umbilicus. Asymptomatic because I have absolutely no pain.

CT scan and doctor consult confirmed that the tear is very small (size of a pencil eraser).

I have scheduled a surgical repair; however, it’s not until the 24th

I’m beginning to second guess whether or not I should get the repair.

The doc said the tear is probably too small to use mesh and that sutures should hold up fine (because the hole is so small) to the heavy training that I perform (following the 6-8 weeks of down time post-op which is the most psychologically daunting thought)

It causes me no pain what so ever in any conceivable activity. There’s only the small bulge and the possibility of it worsening. The possibility of worsening is what has me concerned because heavy weight training is part of my life.

this is my first experience with such an injury and I’m looking for some insight from those of you who might have some to share.

Any information out their on non-surgical/non-invasive therapies? I have been having difficulty finding any information via my searches.

Any insight is appreciated.

Whatever you decide, good luck! :slight_smile:

I appreciate it. Having spoken to a few of my respected associates I think I will be green lighting the surgical repair.

I would get the surgery.

I had mine go on me early in my lifting career. After a lay off it tore during some “light” squats.

On mine they removed the belly-button and sewed it all up tight. It has never bothered me since. The recovery was quick (although you might wear a lifting belt the first time you take a crap).

I appreciate it.

how long after the repair were you able to weight train with any significant resistance?

Mine definitely wasn’t asymptomatic but I felt it mostly when recieving significant pressure at the belly button but not so much, really, during exercise.

I had surgery almost 9 years ago.

From an appearance standpoint, it seemed to, eventually, “re-emerge” but I’ve not felt it during any lifting. I believe a certain degree of scar tissue eventually filled in the area, post-surgery, to protect it-if that’s possible.

The only immediate issue (post surgery) was the extreme soreness not so much, apparently, from the incision but more over-stretching of the muscle fibers in the region. I’m told they take rods, in some cases, to pull apart, temporarily, the local ab. fibers in order to work inside of that temporary gap.

Thanks for the response

When you state that it re-emerged do you believe/know this to be a result of scar tissue or re-herniation?

I do question whether or not the hernia was satisfactorily repaired because it did bulge out, again. Still it now no longer provides any pain when direct pressure is applied and I only feel it on very rare occasions during activity-don’t think I’ve ever felt any discomfort during lifting. It was never really painful except for those direct pressure events. It’s just my guess re: the possibility that the scar tissue is serving a kind of protective role.

I have heard that it is common for people to have numerous such surgeries. The majority of people that I know that have elected to go with the surgery have not had, apparently, any further issues. Most of them are athletes.

I hope that helps and good luck.

I was back to full intensity fairly quickly (maybe 2 months). I recall taking about 3 weeks off and then starting cautiously. I did lots of abs at first. Soon I was confident that it wasn’t going to tear, and added weight to things like SQ and DL quickly.

Same here-I’d guess I also took about 3 weeks before gettting back to lifting and about 6-7 weeks before I was back, nearly so, to where I had left off.

Thanks, both of you, for the information.

Much appreciated

James, let me know how it goes. I have had an umbilical hernia for about 3 years now about the size of yours (at least that’s when they found it anyway, as I think I have had it for much longer than that because whenever I would touch my belly button, even when I was younger, there would be a shooting pain). However, now, I will have mild shooting pains, running from my belly button, to my groin, all the way down to my foot. Generally though, the pain is felt the day after a heavy lift or hard abdominal workout for some reason.

I haven’t gotten it worked on because the pain is mild enough to where I can handle it and it’s a pain to schedule the surgery. But at the same time I wonder if I am limiting my performance due to a possible constant “energy leak”… Kind of like how a slightly deflated ball/tire isn’t as effective? What is everyone’s thought on this?

I will inform.

My surgeon, via his manual assessment, said that I may in fact have two small herniations.

The visible one is the one that I’ve mentioned, just above the umbilicus directly centered on the linea alba and it protrudes when I brace my rectus and lean backwards (slight hyper-extension)

The second possible one is located directly beneath the umbilicus and, just as you described, my entire life, for as long as I can remember, when direct pressure is applied to the belly button I get a shooting pain direct to my groin.

I always summed this up as some sort of anatomical peculiarity of no particular significance. Turns out its probably a more significant peculiarity than I thought.

My surgeon said that he will obviously know for sure when he opens me up and if I do have two he’ll just open them both and suture them as one.

We discussed the possibility of using a laparascope and tension free mesh; however, in his experience the possibility of infection, regarding the synthetic mesh, and also considering the very small size of my herniation(s), hence no laparascope, lead him to suggest an open surgery (which coincides with local versus general anesthesia) and sutures.

I am very fortunate to be surrounded with highly esteemed MDs here at the University of Pittburgh Medical Center so this has added great confidence to my decision to have the repair.

The possibility of the tears becoming larger over time outweigh the 1-3% chance of re-herniation after having the repair considering my weight training lifestyle.

I’ve also concluded that even if the herniations never worsened, I think I would be moderately psychologically tormented by the fact I had this structural weakness in my abdominal wall that could ‘go’ at any time.

Post Surgery Report:

Had the surgery two days ago (Monday the 24th)

Once the surgeon opened me up he discovered that I had 3 small herniations.

One directly beneath the belly button (that I suspect I’ve had since birth) and two directly above. All three within a centimeter or two from one another.

I meet with him in two weeks for a follow up; however, from what he told my wife, I believe they were all in-line with one another longitudinally along the the linea alba.

It was an open surgery, he was able to suture together some of the fascia and also used a small piece of mesh which I believe was sutured to the rectus.

I’ll get the full report and clarifications when I meet with him.

Interesting to note, regarding pain medication, is that I’ve discovered that neither Vicodin or Percocet have any effect on me. As a result, I must take Motrin in addition to one or the other in order to experience the intended effect.

I will be using EMS during this initial period during which it is contraindicated to weight train.

It is appropo that I am able to get a strong muscle contraction without stressing the abdominal wall as would be experienced with most free weight exercise.

I had my first session today.

Special thanks to Gciriani for the information he has been providing in this regard.

James, how is the soreness in that region? That’s what I can recall having the biggest issue with for the first 3-5 days post-surgery.

I believe that simply getting up and walking around helped to speed up the recovery process, as painful as it was initially. I’d suspect that the EMS will also serve in that role.

I would approximate the pain/soreness to an extreme, acute/localized, muscular soreness.

It’s definitely manageable, however.

Obviously, I only ‘feel’ it when the abdomen is stressed in any way that raises intra-abdominal pressure.

I’ve got to jump in on this one. I think I deserve rep points just because of the pain I endured.
earlier this year I talked on this site about the possibility of having a sports hernia and umbilical repair. I had the surgery on Oct 10th. Unfortunately it was a bi-lateral sports hernia (2 of them) and the umbilical. The pain for the next 3-4 days was unbelievable. I my sides hurt like she jumproped with my intestines. I started puking from the anesth. 3 hrs after the surgery and I thought my gonads were trying to come out with the apple juice they gave me. I couldn’t roll over on the couch w/o assistance for 3 days let alone climb a staircase. But I got up and moved every day. My left nut looked like a casaba melon so that got its own ice pack. I was cleared for light exercise 4 wks later although I could still feel the stretch in the stomach.
I started taking antibios a week or so ago because the pus and drainage was soaking bandages and my britches. That has improved over time as well.
Right now I am having problems getting my flexibility back in place and will take any suggestions. I currently stretch 3-4 times per week.