Quality of life (QOL) has become an important focus of hernia repair outcomes. This study aims to identify factors which lead to ideal outcomes (asymptomatic and without recurrence) in large umbilical hernias (defect size ≥9 cm(2)). Review of the prospective International Hernia Mesh Registry was performed. The Carolinas Comfort Scale was used to measure QOL at 1-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up. Demographics, operative details, complications, and QOL data were evaluated using standard statistical methods. Forty-four large umbilical hernia repairs were analyzed. Demographics included: average age 53.6 ± 12.0 and body mass index 34.9 ± 7.2 kg/m(2). The mean defect size was 21.7 ± 16.9 cm(2), and 72.7 per cent were performed laparoscopically. Complications included hematoma (2.3%), seroma (12.6%), and recurrence (9.1%). Follow-up and ideal outcomes were one month = 28.2 per cent, six months = 42.9 per cent, one year = 55.6 per cent. All patients who remained symptomatic at one and two years were significantly symptomatic before surgery. Symptomatic preoperative activity limitation was a significant predictor of nonideal outcomes at one year (P = 0.02). Symptomatic preoperative pain was associated with nonideal outcomes at one year, though the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.06). Operative technique, mesh choice, and fixation technique did not impact recurrence or QOL. Repair of umbilical hernia with defects ≥9 cm(2) had a surprising low rate of ideal outcomes (asymptomatic and no recurrence). All patients with nonideal long-term outcomes had preoperative pain and activity limitations. These data may suggest that umbilical hernia should be repaired when they are small and asymptomatic.