Is umbilical hernia repair major surgery?

Umbilical hernia repair is a routine surgery; most people are back home afterward within 24 hours.
Umbilical hernia repair is a routine surgery; most people are back home afterward within 24 hours.

An umbilical hernia repair is a relatively routine surgery and takes about 20 to 30 minutes. It can be performed as an open surgery or a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. An open surgery might require two to three days of hospitalization, but with a laparoscopic surgery a patient may be able to go home the same day or within 24 hours.

How is an umbilical hernia surgery performed?

An umbilical hernia surgery is usually performed by a general surgeon. Depending on the condition of the patient, the surgeon might use one of the three types of anesthesia,

  • General
  • Local with sedation
  • Regional (spinal injection)


Prior to the surgery the patient

  • Undergoes blood tests and imaging tests.
  • Must not eat or drink 8 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Must check with the doctor before taking any regular medications.
  • Must inform the doctor of any allergies.


  • An anesthesiologist administers anesthesia and monitors the patient’s vital functions during the procedure
  • The surgeon makes one or more incisions in the skin next to the umbilical hernia.
  • The surgeon gently pushes back the protruding intestine and abdominal tissue back in place.
  • The surgeon may cut out dead tissue if it is a strangulated hernia.
  • The surgeon repairs the hole in the abdominal muscle wall with stitches.
  • The surgeon may also use a mesh for support.
  • The incision is then closed with sutures.
  • The patient will be monitored in the recovery room for a few hours.

Is umbilical hernia surgery painful?

An umbilical hernia surgery is not painful because the procedure is performed under anesthesia. During recovery there might be pain, which can be managed with painkillers.

What is the recovery time for an umbilical hernia surgery?

Most people can return to normal daily activities within a week or two after an umbilical hernia surgery. They may be advised to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities for about six weeks.

What are the risks and complications of an umbilical hernia surgery?

An umbilical hernia repair surgery is a relatively safe procedure, but carries a few risks, including:


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Medically Reviewed on 4/15/2020
Medscape Medical Reference