Umbilical hernia pathophysiology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Hamid Qazi, MD, BSc [2]

Overview

The pathophysiology of umbilical hernia involves the weakness of abdominal fascia or failure to fully form the fascia which may lead to an umbilical hernia in the newborn. During the fifth to tenth weeks of gestation, the intestinal tract undergoes rapid growth with protrusion of the abdominal content outside the abdominal cavity. This is followed by a gradual re-entry of the abdominal cavity and then the narrowing of the umbilical ring which completes the process of abdominal wall formation.

Pathophysiology

The pathophysiology of umbilical hernia is as follows:[1][2]

  • During the time between fifth and tenth weeks of gestation, the intestinal tract undergoes rapid growth with protrusion of the abdominal content outside the abdominal cavity.
  • This is followed by a gradual re-entry of the abdominal cavity and then the ultimate narrowing of the umbilical ring which completes the process of abdominal wall formation as fetal development concludes.
  • Weak fascia or failure to fully form the fascia may predispose the newborn to an umbilical hernia.

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