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World J Surg. 2001 May;25(5):645-8.

Incidence of umbilical hernia in African children: redefinition of "normal" and reevaluation of indications for repair.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, c/o Children's Medical Center, 1935 Motor Street, Room H310, Dallas, Texas 75235, USA.


This study was undertaken to assess the degree of ubiquity of umbilical hernias (UHs) in Nigerians and to determine if a laissez faire approach to the presence of UHs is justified. A prospective evaluation was conducted of the umbilical area of 4052 Nigerians living in the vicinity of the Baptist Medical Centre (BMCO) in Ogbomoso, Nigeria. The diameter of the fascial defect was measured with the subject supine and the protrusion of the umbilical skin with the subject erect. Subjects were divided into three groups: group 1 (1 month to 18 years old); group 2 (older than 18 years); and group 3 (pregnant women in an antenatal clinic). "Outies" (defined as any protrusion of the umbilical tip past the periumbilical skin) were present in 92% of group 1, 49% of group 2, and 90% of group 3 subjects. UHs (defined as protrusion of at least 5 mm and diameter of at least 10 mm) were present in 23% of group 1, 8% of group 2, and 15% of group 3 subjects. Spontaneous closure of UHs seems to occur until age 14. A retrospective analysis identified 11 patients undergoing emergency operations for UH-related problems during the past 15 years. With a low incidence and 0% mortality rate associated with management of these emergencies, a policy of prophylactic repair is not justified at BMCO. Because most of the children we examined had outies, repair for cosmetic reasons is rarely requested. The only logical indication for repair of UHs at BMCO is incarceration, and this rarely occurs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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