An epigastric hernia is a type of abdominal-wall hernia. In this condition, contents of a body cavity bulge out. These contents mostly include intestine or abdominal fat. They remain enclosed in the thin membrane. An epigastric hernia may occur due to a weakness in the abdominal muscle. These types of hernias are mostly congenital in nature. As the infant grows, epigastric hernias may get healed without treatment. It gets cured as the abdominal muscles strengthen. An epigastric hernia is almost identical to an umbilical hernia; except the umbilical hernia occurs around the belly button and an epigastric hernia occurs between the chest and belly button. In severe cases, segments of organ may move through the hole in the muscle.
Most epigastric hernias are asymptomatic or may cause slight to severe pain. Epigastric hernias are also known as "reducible" hernia as they typically appear at the time of birth and disappear later on. These hernias may be noticed while the patient is crying, pushing hard during a bowel movement, or involved in an activity that demands abdominal pressure. Appearance and distinct visibility makes it easily diagnosable.
Certain types of epigastric hernia may occur right from birth, whereas, other may occur much later. Epigastric hernia may occur due to the following conditions:
The symptoms to look for are:
An epigastric hernia may develop due to strenuous activities of daily life. However, surgical technique may overlap muscle layers. This process weakens adjacent tissue layers. Nowadays, tension-free mesh repair is commonly used as it decreases hernia recurrence rates. Most epigastric hernia patients can resume their normal routine within 2 to 4 weeks. However, the abdomen will remain tender, especially for the 1st week. Patient must avoid the following activities to protect the incision site: