An epigastric hernia, also called a ventral hernia, happens when part of the intestines protrude through the abdominal wall between the belly button and the chest. If the hernia gets bigger, it can trap intestines in the protrusion, leading to intestinal blockage or damage. Epigastric hernias are more common in boys.
Your child may have a bulge or swelling in the abdomen where the hernia is located. Some hernias cause a sharp or dull pain but other hernias cause no pain at all. The bulge or the pain may be worse when your child is standing, sneezing, coughing, or straining to go to the bathroom. If you suspect a hernia, see a physician immediately.
An epigastric hernia must be removed during surgery. During surgery, the abdominal contents will be returned to their normal position. Often, a plastic screen or mesh will be used to reinforce the area to make sure the protrusion doesn't occur again. Sometimes, depending on factors like the size, location, and other characteristics of your child's hernia, the hernia repair may be performed laparoscopically, which involves smaller incisions and promotes a faster recovery.