Hiatal Hernia

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What Is a Hiatal Hernia?

It is a condition in which a portion of the stomach extends through an opening in the diaphragm located in the chest. The diaphragm is the muscular layer that separates the thorax from the abdomen. The diaphragm has a small hole (hiatus) through which the feeding tube (esophagus) passes before joining the stomach.

What Should I Do If I Have a Hiatal Hernia?

  • Limit activities that cause pain, discomfort or include a great effort.
  • Go to a medical consultation to determine if a procedure is necessary.
  • Change of diet and taking antacids.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Consult the physician for an evaluation.

Patients who do not respond well to changes in lifestyle or medications or who constantly require medications in order to control their symptoms should learn to cope with their condition or they may undergo a surgical procedure. Surgery is very effective for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux.

What Symptoms Usually Occur?

Some symptoms include:

  • Abdominal or chest pain.
  • Heartburn.
  • Nausea and dizziness.
  • Regurgitation.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Difficulty swallowing.

When Is the Surgery Necessary?

Through an assessment with your physician and surgeon, you will know when you are on time to get a surgery in order to eradicate the problem.

What Are the Advantages of the Laparoscopic Method?

The advantages of the laparoscopic method are that it usually provides:

  • Reduction of postoperative pain.
  • A shorter hospital stay.
  • A faster return to work.
  • Better cosmetic outcome.

How Is the Laparoscopic Anti-Reflux Surgery Performed?

It consists of strengthening the “valve” between the esophagus and the stomach by surrounding the lower end of the esophagus with the upper portion of the stomach. In a laparoscopic procedure, surgeons use small incisions (a quarter to a half inch) in order to access the abdomen through cannulas (narrow tubular instruments).

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