Hiatal Hernia and Acid Reflux Surgery

What is a Hiatal Hernia?

A Hiatal Hernia is a space in the diaphragm. Your diaphragm is the muscle that separates the chest and belly. Your stomach may bulge through this hole into your chest and this can make Acid Reflux symptoms worse.

What is GERD?

GERD is a condition that allows food or stomach acid to move from the stomach up to the esophagus. This is called reflux. It can cause discomfort in the chest called heartburn . This happens because there is a weakness in the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach.

What are symptoms?

Burning and heartburn in the stomach, chest and throat especially after meals.

The cause can be due to several factors. Increasing age, obesity, and smoking are known risk factors in adults.

How is a Hiatal Hernia treated?

This is usually treated medically with diet modification cessation of tobacco and alcohol and with weight reduction.

When is surgery indicated?

When medical treatment fails. Usually patients are on medication for a long period of time and the medication doesn’t control the symptoms anymore. You may develop aspiration pneumonia, hoarseness or chronic cough.

What is Anti-reflux surgery?

The surgery for GERD is called a Nissan Fundoplication. It is a procedure that tightens the junction between the esophagus and the stomach. This is a minimally invasive surgery that takes about an hour to perform. Usually a Hiatal Hernia Repair is performed in conjunction with the fundoplication. Patients can go home the same day of surgery depending on your overall health.

Overall Prognosis

Anti-reflux surgery repair is a safe operation. Heartburn and other symptoms should improve after surgery. There may still be some residual reflux symptoms that will require you to still take antireflux medication after surgery.

There is a possibility of recurrence which means that some people will need another operation in the future to treat new reflux symptoms. This may happen if the stomach was wrapped around the esophagus too tightly, the wrap loosens, or a new hiatal hernia develops.

Possible complications of surgery include difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), Difficulty belching if the wrap is too tight and inability to eat certain foods in the future.