What is an Epigastric Hernia?
When there is a hole or weak area of the abdomen, between the breastbone and the belly button, it is known as an epigastric hernia.
Epigastric hernias are commonly found in pediatrics, and the child afflicted is often born with a hernia. They occur when the abdomen's fibrous tissue does not fully develop. They are often discovered after fluid, or abdominal fat is trapped within a hernia causing the area to protrude. The area will be noticeable when a child cries, is using the restroom or bears down. Upon relaxing, the bump will no longer be prevalent.
It is possible for a child to feel no symptoms with their epigastric hernia, while others find the location of a hernia to be quite painful or tender.
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When You Have A Epigastric Hernia
When Should an Epigastric Hernia Receive Surgery?
Depending on the age of the patient in question, as well as the size and severity of the hernia, there are several treatment options that can be considered and potentially utilized. As opposed to some hernias, such as an umbilical hernia, an epigastric is unlikely to resolve itself given time. The only time a "wait and see" approach is likely to be employed is if the patient is a very young baby. It is possible that the abdominal wall will mature itself and heal the hernia naturally. Even if a hernia shows no signs of healing, a toddler is a better candidate for surgery than an infant.
While it is very rare for an epigastric hernia to result in complications that are serious, they are possible. Less serious complications include defects that trap fat and become discolored and cause pain. More serious complications could be intestines or other tissue becoming trapped in the hernia leading to the intestines becoming blocked, damaged, or both. Should the intestines become entrapped, blood flow can become compromised and will require emergency surgery to correct.
What Kind of Surgeon Should be Trusted?
The type of surgeon necessary will largely depend on the size and severity of the hernia in question. Talk to your doctor about the treatment options and approach, and consider a second opinion if you are feeling uncomfortable about an approach. Choose a surgeon who is both experienced with the procedure and who is willing to listen to your concerns and educate you on his process.
Epigastric Hernia Repair Options
Straight from Dr. Williams