7 Most Important Hiatal Hernia Repair Surgery Facts

Hiatal Hernia Repair Surgery

Hiatal hernia repair surgery is something that many people are not aware of. It is not considered a typical treatment for the problem. However, there are some cases where it may be considered practical or desirable depending on severity and symptoms. A hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach becomes pushed through or slips through an opening in the diaphragm, the part of the body that separates the abdomen from the chest. There are many ways to treat the condition, however if surgery is on the table, consider these seven important facts before getting on the operating table.

1. Not all Hiatal Hernias Require Surgery: Hiatal hernia repair surgery is not recommended in most cases. In fact, since many hiatal hernias produce no symptoms at all, surgery may the most unlikely treatment method to be considered. The condition may sound very complicated, however surgery for hiatal hernia related conditions is normally reserved for complex or large hernias or those that may be contributing to severe symptoms.

2. Most Physicians WIll Attempt to Exhaust Other Treatment Methods before Considering Surgery: Surgery may be a finite solution to managing the symptoms associated with a hiatal hernia; however, in almost all cases, other methods of treatment are tried, tried again, and then tried again before surgery is considered. This has to do with what the underlying causes of hiatal hernia symptoms are, which are almost always related to stomach acid. Unnatural or shifted connections between the stomach and esophagus can allow excess acid to enter areas it should not be which can cause pain due to irritation and inflammation. Medications, a special hiatal hernia diet and lifestyle and natural approaches can help reduce the amount of acid in the stomach or help prevent it from migrating upwards thereby eliminating the need for hiatal hernia repair surgery altogether.

3. Sometimes Surgery is Required Because of an Emergency: There are times when there is no other option available than surgery. This is often the case when a hernia has become strangulated. The term strangulation is used to describe a lack of blood supply to the herniated tissue which can be a serious and life threatening condition. Hiatal hernias that are at risk of strangulation are also considered sometimes for surgery, and a health care provider will determine whether or not a procedure hiatal hernia repair surgery is appropriate.

4. There is More Than One Type of Surgery for a Hiatal Hernia: Just as there is more than one type of hiatal hernia, there is more than one way to fix it. Open surgery involves a large abdominal incision, laparoscopic surgery involves three to five much smaller incisions and a newer yet method uses none at all. There are pluses and minuses to each type, but the biggest differences between them have to do with recovery from hernia surgery. Open surgery not only carries greater risk, but takes longer to recover from and these complications and risks are lessened with other types of procedures.

5. In Addition to Repairing the Hernia, Surgeries Often Include Other Procedures: A hiatal hernia repair surgery also corrects other issues while putting the stomach back into place properly. For instance, the hiatus – the diaphragm opening that the stomach becomes pushed through – is also tightened in order to prevent recurrences. In addition, a hiatal hernia repair surgery often includes a procedure that reduces acid reflux related symptoms. This procedure involves stapling the stomach to the esophagus so that it remains properly positioned to prevent backups of volatile gastric juices.

6. There are Side Effects Associated with the Operations: Any operation carries risk, but there are specific hiatal hernia surgery side effects that anyone considering the procedure should be aware of. For instance, a phenomenon known as dysphagia where swallowing is difficult or painful, may occur for up to a couple of months following the operation. Aside from this risk, a hiatal hernia repair surgery can also lead to respiratory problems like pneumonia or breathing problems from anesthesia. Additionally, gas bloat as a result of the gases used during the procedure can cause painful or uncomfortable symptoms for days afterwards.

7. Hiatal Hernias Can Come Back: A hiatal hernia repair is just that, a repair. And, just as a car can be fixed only to break again, even a surgery does not guarantee that a hernia cannot come back. There are numerous things that can cause a hiatal hernia including physiology and genetics, however many are caused by activity or involuntary responses like coughing too hard or strenuous bowel movements. The problem is that a hiatal hernia repair surgery provides a permanent solution to symptoms, but not a guarantee that the benefits will last. Hiatal hernia relief from symptoms can be swift following the procedure, but may recur shortly thereafter or years and years down the road.

References:
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002925.htm

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