A hiatal hernia happens when part of your stomach bulges up and through the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. It has a small opening called a hiatus.
There are two types of hiatal hernia. A sliding hernia causes part of your stomach and esophagus to slide up through the hiatus of the diaphragm. The other type is a paraesophageal hernia. This type of hernia causes part of your stomach to squeeze through the hiatus. This impacts the blood supply to your stomach. A hiatal hernia repair corrects both of these serious conditions.
When a Hiatal Hernia Repair is Needed
Our doctors recommend a hiatal hernia repair if you have symptoms associated with your condition. Heartburn, frequent burping, and indigestion are common symptoms with a sliding hiatal hernia. All paraesophageal hernias require a repair. It is important that any heartburn and indigestion symptoms be investigated and treated. This is because the pain of heartburn often mimics the chest pains of a heart attack. A hiatal hernia is most common in women, people who are overweight, and people who are over the age of 50 years.
Minimally Invasive Hiatal Hernia Repair
Our doctors are able to perform a laparoscopic surgery for most hiatal hernias. A laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair is minimally invasive. This means that our doctors are able to make just a few small incisions into your abdomen in order to complete the repair. Each of the incisions is just 5 to 10 millimeters in length, or about 0.5 inches to 0.75 inches. The incisions allow our doctors to insert a laparoscope. The laparoscope is a small camera mounted onto thin, flexible tubing. The camera transmits images to a monitor. This allows our doctors to see your stomach and other internal organs.
How a Hiatal Hernia Repair Works
Once our doctors can see into your abdomen, they use small surgical tools to return the stomach back to its proper place in your abdomen. When the stomach is back in its correct place, the camera is removed and the incisions are stitched closed. You will be given anesthesia and a sedative for the procedure. This surgery is usually an outpatient procedure. Our doctors usually allow you to go home on the same day. Our doctors may recommend that you avoid heavy lifting or exercises such as sit-ups or crunches that exercise your abdominal muscles.
Reasons to Have a Hiatal Repair Surgery
Returning your stomach to its proper position in your abdomen allows your digestive organs to function properly. This repair may also help to eliminate your symptoms of indigestion, acid reflux, and pain. There are many advantages to the laparoscopic technique used by our doctors. These advantages include smaller incisions, a faster healing time, and less scarring. There are no dietary restrictions and you will be able to get back to regular activities within about a week. Complete recovery from a hiatal hernia repair only takes about two to three weeks.