May also be called: Ventral Hernia; Linea Alba Hernia
A hernia is an opening or weakness in the wall of a muscle, tissue, or membrane that normally holds an organ in place. If the opening or weakness is large enough, a portion of the organ may be able to protrude through the hole.
With an epigastric hernia, the opening is found near the center of the abdomen, in between the bottom of the breastbone (sternum) and the belly button. This part of the abdomen is called the epigastrium, so a hernia in this area is called epigastric.
Epigastric hernias are caused by defects in the midline of the abdomen (called the linea alba), where the abdominal muscles on both sides come together. Babies can be born with this sort of defect, or it can be caused by weakness in the surrounding muscles or strain on the abdominal wall. The defect may allow fatty tissue and/or part of the intestines to protrude through the abdominal muscles. This can cause pain and a small lump.
About 75% of epigastric hernias occur in males. They are usually small and may cause no symptoms and sometimes require no treatment. When symptoms are present or the hernia is large, surgery is a common way to fix the problem.
Epigastric hernias should be evaluated so a doctor should be notified about swelling or pain in the area of the epigastrium.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|American College of Surgeons The website of the American College of Surgeons provides consumer information about common surgeries such as appendectomy.|
|Hernia Resource Center This site has information about hernias and hernia repair surgery.|
|Hernias A hernia is an opening or weakness in the wall of a muscle, tissue, or membrane that normally holds an organ in place. Learning to prevent hernias isn't hard to do - check out these tips.|
|Hernias Hernias are fairly common in kids and hernia repair is the one of the most common surgeries performed on children.|
|A to Z: Hernia, Umbilical Learn about hernias and conditions that affect the abdomen and bellybutton.|
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