Reflux Surgery & Hiatal Hernia Repair

GI Surgical Specialists is your destination for Southwest Florida’s #1 Reflux Center. Fellowship trained surgeons, Dr. Denk and Dr. Siegal, are passionate about gastroesophageal health and offer the highest level of heartburn care in the Naples and Fort Myers area!

Achieve acid reflux relief with 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. In fact, a hiatal hernia is often the cause of acid reflux. 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. 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. If you have a hiatal hernia and reflux medications aren’t controlling your symptoms, hiatal hernia repair is the key to stopping your GERD!

Video: Laparoscopic Hiatal Hernia Repair with Fundoplication

What causes a hiatal hernia?

The exact cause of a hiatal hernia is unknown but experts believe pregnancy, abdominal injury, constipation, straining, excessive vomiting or any factor increasing the pressure in the abdomen 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.

Did you know?

Acid reflux (or heartburn) can lead to a condition that can cause Barrett’s Esophagus and even lead to Esophageal Cancer? The incidence of this cancer is rising! In fact, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) recommends screening patients with an endoscopy if the have any symptoms of acid reflux and are older than 50 years, males, overweight, caucasian, current or former smoker or have a family history of Barrett’s Esophagus.

If you meet these criteria, you should be screened for acid reflux disease with an endoscopy and reflux test.

Repairing Hiatal Hernia

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, we either wrap the upper portion of your stomach around the lower esophagus to create what is called a fundoplication or offer the LINX device. 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. Surgery often last from 60 to 90 minutes and most patients are able to leave the hospital the next morning. Following the surgery most patients are able to stop medication use immedietely.

Video: Robotic Hiatal Hernia Repair 

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 Minimally Invasive Hiatal Hernia Repair:

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

What about mesh?

Our surgeons use mesh for hiatal hernia repair selectively. This means that not all cases require mesh placement. In fact, most commonly our surgeons do not use mesh and complete a non-mesh repair of hiatal hernias. If mesh is chosen to be utilized, the mesh is resorbable. This means the mesh dissolves over time as the body heals the repair. You can be rest assured that mesh is not required for most hiatal hernia repairs.