Reflux Surgery – Hiatal Hernia Repair

Achieve acid reflux relief with laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair at GI Surgical Specialists.

Many people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) also suffer from the condition known as hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when the top part of the stomach passes through the opening of the diaphragm separating the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity. This opening is the esophageal hiatus or diaphragmatic hiatus. To effectively prevent stomach content reflux the hiatus and lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular valve between the stomach and esophagus that prevents reflux, must both function properly. Hiatal hernias are known to weaken the LES, making it easier for stomach acids to reflux back up into the esophagus.

What causes a hiatal hernia?

The exact cause of a hiatal hernia is unknown but experts believe pregnancy, abdominal injury, constipation, straining and excessive vomiting may contribute to the weakening of support tissue that may prompt a hiatal hernia.

What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

Most patients who have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia experience one or more of the following symptoms on a regular basis:

  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Frequent belching
  • Vomiting
  • Gastric reflux

Unfortunately, many patients suffering from hiatal hernia believe they have no other option but to endure these recurrent symptoms. However, such defects in the diaphragm can often be surgically repaired to effectively resolve their symptoms.

Repairing Hiatal Hernia with Laparoscopic Surgery

Patients suffering from hiatal hernia or acid reflux as a result of their hernia can find relief with minimally invasive laparoscopic hernia repair performed at GI Surgical Specialists.  Laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair corrects the opening in the diaphragm, forcing the protruding portion of the stomach back into place. Since damage to the LES is typical with hiatal hernia, surgery to repair the valve is often done at this time as well.

To repair the valve, your surgeon will wrap the upper portion of your stomach around the lower esophagus to create what is called a fundoplication. Together, these two procedures can prevent further problems with gastric reflux as well as reduce the chances of hernia reoccurrence by reinforcing the lower esophageal sphincter and helping it to function properly.

Laparoscopic nissen fundoplication is 95 percent effective at curing common reflux symptoms, including heartburn and acid regurgitation. Following the surgery most patients are able to stop medication use immedietely.

Hiatal hernia repair with laparoscopic nissen fundoplication often last from 60 to 90 minutes. Following surgery, your diet may be restricted for several days to allow for proper healing. Most patients are able to return home the morning following surgery.

If you are a patient undergoing laparoscopic reflux surgery for GERD who has an existing hiatal hernia, your surgeon will repair the hiatal hernia while treating GERD.

Benefits of Laparoscopic Hiatal Hernia Repair:

  • Less postoperative pain
  • Minimal adverse complications
  • Reduced recovery period