Epigastric hernias are located higher on the abdominal wall above the umbilicus and usually in the area just below the breast bone (or sternum).
Epigastric hernias arise because of a small hole between the rectus abdominus muscles (often referred to as the “six pack” if you’re lucky enough to have one!). The hole or defect is often very small. The hernia sac that comes out between the muscles usually contains fat rather than any bowel.
Epigastric hernias differ from other hernias in that they don’t usually disappear when you lie down. This is because the defect is usually too small to allow the herniated sac/fat to go back in.
Repairing an epigastric hernia is usually straightforward involving a small incision and a couple of stitches. Occasionally in larger hernias a mesh may be needed.
The operation is far less painful than an inguinal hernia and recovery and return to work is much quicker. Most patients would expect to be back at work within one week from surgery.