An epigastric hernia can develop when fat tissues are able to push through weakened abdominal muscles. The result is a bulge or bump in the epigastric area between your belly button and the bottom of your rib cage. Initially, the pain and discomfort of an epigastric hernia may only be noticeable when the abdominal muscles are stressed during activities such as crying, lifting heavy objects, or pushing during a bowel movement. The hernia may seem to appear during stressful activities and then disappear when the muscles are relaxed. But, an epigastric hernia will not go away and cannot be healed without surgical repair.
Your surgeon will discuss the details of the operation before your surgery is scheduled. You will be instructed on how to prepare for the procedure, what to expect afterward, how long your recovery will take, when to schedule a follow-up appointment, and when you can resume normal daily activities.
General Surgery Information
An epigastric hernia repair is performed as general surgery at an outpatient clinic or a hospital. You will be given a general anesthetic before the surgery to insure that you are asleep and will not feel any pain during the procedure. The operation requires approximately one hour to complete. You will be taken to a recovery area for observation after the surgery. The majority of patients are able to go home after recovery from the operation. Because you will not be able to drive, you will need to have someone come with you who can take you home.
After the anesthesia has taken effect, the surgeon will make an incision over the hernia site that is deep enough to reach the weakened, bulging muscle defect. The surgeon will decide whether to push the fat tissues back to their normal position or to remove the tissue. If any stomach tissue has pushed through the muscle wall, that tissue will be pushed back into its normal position. If your hernia is large, a mesh covering will be placed over the repair site and kept in place with sutures. After the hernia repair procedure is complete, the incision will be closed with sutures. Your surgeon will determine whether to apply dissolvable stitches or standard stitches that will be removed during your follow-up office appointment. You will then be taken to a recovery area for observation before being allowed to go home.