What is a hiatal hernia?
A hiatal hernia is diagnosed when part of the stomach moves upward into the chest. The upper part of your stomach bulges through the large muscle (diaphragm) that separates your abdomen and chest.
This type of hernia doesn’t always require surgery and can sometimes be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
When is surgery required for a hiatal hernia?
In many cases, hiatal hernias don’t cause symptoms. You don’t need to have a surgical intervention unless it’s interfering with your quality of life.
A large hernia may cause uncomfortable symptoms including:
- Severe heartburn
- Acid reflux
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or liquids into the throat and mouth
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
In very severe cases, you may experience gastrointestinal bleeding characterized by vomiting of blood or the passing of black stools. Surgery is the only way to resolve these issues caused by the hernia.
What is involved in surgical repair of a hiatal hernia?
Surgery is called for when medications can’t relieve heartburn or acid reflux. It can also correct the narrowing or inflammation of the esophagus.
The technique used depends on your particular situation. Surgery may involve pulling your stomach down into your abdomen. The doctors then make the opening of your diaphragm smaller, remove the hernia, or reconstruct the esophageal sphincter.
The most common form of surgery is a Nissen fundoplication. The surgery is done using laparoscopy and is minimally invasive. You only endure a few tiny incisions in the abdomen. The hernia is repaired and often the opening is tightened to prevent a repeat hernia from occurring.
The laparoscopic technique carries less risk of infection, results in minimal scarring, and features faster healing. Your pain is also reduced with this advanced surgical technique.
In some cases, surgery may be performed using a single incision into your chest wall. The doctors at Turnquest Surgical Solutions carefully review your case to determine the approach that’s best for you.
If you have severe complications of a hiatal hernia, consult with the expert surgeons at Turnquest Surgical Solutions. Schedule your appointment by calling one of the two locations or using the online tool.