An umbilical hernia occurs when there is a defect in the abdominal wall near the belly button, allowing abdominal contents to leave the abdominal cavity. If this hernia becomes symptomatic, treatment is surgical repair. The two ways of repairing an umbilical hernia are with mesh and with sutures.
The most common repair is with mesh. In this repair, the contents are pushed back into the abdominal cavity, and a small piece of mesh is placed on the inside of the abdominal wall so that it covers the defect. This mesh is then stitched into place. Recovery time for this procedure is approximately 2 weeks before return to full activity.
Less commonly, umbilical hernias can be repaired with sutures alone. In this repair, mostly reserved for very small hernias, the defect is stitched closed. The recovery for this procedure is a bit longer, between 4-6 weeks before return to full activity.
The decision to proceed with umbilical hernia repair with either mesh or sutures is a decision that should be made between you and your surgeon.