Friday, January 8, 2010

Doctor My Baby has an "outie"!!

We often hear parents tell us that their baby has an outie and grandmother would recommend putting a coin on the umbilicus to strap it down to help make this better. An outie is a bulge on the umbilicus which is more prominent when the baby cries, coughs or strains. We call this an"umbilical hernia". This is due to the imperfect closure or weakness of the muscles in the umbilical ring. The size of the defect ranges from 1cm to 5cm but larger ones are rare. Most umbilical hernia that appear before 6 months of age will resolve by 1 year of age. Even large ones at 5-6cm spontaneously resolve by 5-6 years of age. The chances of the intestinal contents be trapped through the defect is rare. Surgery is only indicated if the defect progressively becomes large after the age of 2 or if this is greater than 2cm big. This is less likely to resolve spontaneously and if it persists by the age of 3-4 years old. The other indication for surgery is that if the hernia is strangulated. So now we now know that putting a coin on the umbilicus would not help in the treatment of an umbilical hernia.

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