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Is surgery for umbilical hernia a major surgery?

Q: My mother is 49 years old. She has developed a small lump in her navel. I suspect it is umbilical hernia. We have not consulted a doctor yet. What are the risks involved with hernia surgery? What are the post-operative possibilities? My maternal grandmother also underwent a similar hernia surgery when she was 50 years old. I was wondering whether it is a hereditary condition? My mother is a lecturer and works full time both in and outside the house. What precautions does she need to take? Could it be anything else other than hernia? When my grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, her doctor brought up an issue of some post-operative follow-up procedure not being complied within her medical history. What was he referring to? Will my mother also require a follow-up?

A:I am sorry to note that your mother has what you think is an umbilical hernia. If the swelling presents when your mother strains or stands up and reduces (disappears) on lying down then it is most probably an umbilical hernia. If she develops pain in the swelling or if it does not reduce on lying down, then she should see a doctor immediately as the hernia could have obstructed. Operation per se is not a very major one. However, occasionally complications such as wound infection and very rarely mesh rejection (when used) may occur. The risk of any operation also depends on the general condition, whether she has co-morbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, renal or pulmonary disease, all of which are adverse factors and increase the risk of an operation. This is not a hereditary condition; your surgeon will be able to guide you in an appropriate manner after he / she seen your mother.

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