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Umbilical Hernias in Children, Are They Innocent? - Abstract

Ike Njere, Hemant Kumar, Sadaf Kader, Dorothy Kufeji, Ahmed Said, Masih Kader




Umbilical hernia is common in infants and children with an incidence of 10 -30% reported in the literature. Complications are believed to be rare and most are repaired at school age mainly for psychosocial reasons. Few studies have evaluated the complication rate of umbilical hernias. This study aims to ascertain the complication rate of umbilical hernias in children and review the timing of repair.


A retrospective study of 236 patients that presented to the University hospital Lewisham with umbilical hernia from 2006 to 2010. Case notes were reviewed and parents contacted by telephone where necessary. Umbilical hernia was defined as the presence of a palpable fascial defect beneath the umbilical cicatrix irrespective of size.


There was adequate data in 206/236 patients and 102/206 were males. Of the 206, 124 were of African descent, 73/206 Caucasian, 5/206 Asian and the rest other ethnicity. Total complication rate was 18/206 (8.74%) while incarceration rate was 17/206 (8.25%). Median size of fascial defect was 1cm (range 1- 2cm) for incarcerated and 1.5 cm (range 0.5-10 cm) for the incarcerated.


The complication rate of 8.74% in this study suggests complications are not as rare and may justify earlier repair.

Keywords: umbilical hernia, complications, hernia repair


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