An umbilical hernia can produce symptoms that range from mildly annoying to life-threatening, and in many cases, surgery will be the best option to repair tissue that has become herniated. Hernias can occur at any age, but as you get older, the risk of developing an umbilical hernia increases due to the loss of core strength and degeneration of muscle tissue. Many older adults may develop an umbilical hernia due to overexertion or injuries that results from slips and falls. Left untreated, an umbilical hernia could potentially lead to pain and difficulty with bowel movements, and rarely, internal bleeding and infection.

What is Umbilical Hernia Surgery?
A hernia in the abdomen is usually the result of fatty tissue pushing through abdominal muscle, but this can also mean that parts of the intestine are entangled and trapped as well. These types of incidents generally occur near the belly button or lower abdomen, and while most are painless, blood flow and proper digestion can be impacted by an umbilical hernia. This is why it’s important to have surgery to repair the damage before it leads to additional health consequences.

Most umbilical hernia surgeries are quick and completed using laparoscopic procedures. Recovery time varies, but most people will be able to resume a normal routine within a few days with complete healing taking place after a few weeks.

Does Medicare Cover Umbilical Hernia Surgery?
Under Medicare’s Part B outpatient medical coverage, most medically necessary umbilical hernia surgical procedures are covered. In some cases, an umbilical hernia will be discovered and corrected during a different surgical procedure, but when deemed medically necessary, there should not be a problem in receiving coverage, even when the hernia was not the primary purpose of the initial surgery.

It should be noted that an umbilical hernia may not require surgery at all in order to be treated. In some cases, the herniated tissue may be able to be placed back into the proper position externally, and the use of abdominal bracing may keep the hernia from reappearing. Treating an umbilical hernia in this manner should also be covered by Medicare Part B because it would be considered an outpatient procedure that can often be performed in a doctor’s office. If you have questions concerning your treatment options, talk to your physician and speak with your Medicare benefits plan manager for clarification.

Surgery While in a Skilled Nursing Facility
Another potential option for Medicare coverage of an umbilical hernia is surgery that is completed during at a stay at a skilled nursing facility. These stays are short in duration and are not meant to be treated as long-term care. While being treated at a skilled nursing facility traditionally used for rehabilitation, an umbilical hernia surgery may be performed and covered under the regulations of Medicare Part A. When surgery is performed in such a setting, additional medications to treat underlying illnesses that may accompany the hernia may also be covered under Part A because they have been ordered by the facility’s medical team, even if these medications are not covered under Part D of your Medicare benefits prescription drug plan.

Develop an Exercise Plan With Your Doctor
Exercise is an important part of healthy living for people of all ages, but as you get older, having the right exercise plan in place is vital, especially after undergoing umbilical hernia surgery. Before beginning any type of exercise regimen, you should talk to your doctor about your specific health concerns to reduce the potential for injury. After an umbilical hernia surgical procedure, you will need to follow strict guidelines set forth by your medical provider regarding exercise. Doing too much too fast can lead to a re-opening of the incision, potentially causing serious complications. Appropriate exercise is the key to not only speeding up the healing process, but also to avoiding future hernia-related problems.

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