Date amended:
Statements of Principles
Current RMA Instruments:
Reasonable Hypothesis SOP
93 of 2016
Balance of Probabilities SOP
94 of 2016
SOP bulletin information for new SOP


ICD Coding
  • ICD-9-CM Codes: 551.1, 552.1, 553.1
  • ICD-10-AM Codes: K42
Brief description

An umbilical hernia is a hernia that develops at or around the umbilicus (belly button) (not including incisional hernias at that site).

Confirming the diagnosis

The diagnosis is based on the history and the clinical findings on examination.

The relevant medical specialist is a general surgeon.

Additional diagnoses covered by SOP
  • Paraumbilical hernia
  • Periumbilical hernia
Conditions not covered by SOP
  • Femoral hernia#
  • Hiatus hernia*
  • Incisional hernia*
  • Inguinal hernia*
  • Obturator hernia#

* another SOP applies 

# non-SOP condition

Clinical onset

The condition may be asymptomatic and may be found incidentally at examination.  More usually, a bulge at the site is noticed.  There may be discomfort with coughing, exercise, or bowel movements.  Hernias are rarely painful. Once diagnosis has been confirmed clinical onset can be backdated to when the bulge first became noticable.

Clinical worsening

The normal course for a hernia is to remain fairly stable or slowly progress.  Serious complications can develop in a small proportion of cases.  Treatment may be conservative or surgery may be required.  Worsening could be evidenced by sudden progression or the development of complications.