Hiatal Hernia and Reflux Surgery

What Is A Hernia?

A hernia is a condition in which part of an organ protrudes through the muscle wall. Common hernias include inguinal hernias (hernia in the groin), umbilical hernias (hernia at the belly button), ventral hernias (refers to hernias in the front of the abdomen), incisional hernias (hernias that are present from prior abdominal incisions), epigastric hernias (hernia in the upper middle of the abdomen), subxiphoid hernia (hernias just below the breast-bone), supra-pubic hernias (hernia just above the pubic bone), and lumbar hernias (hernias on the lateral abdomen, flank, and back).

Symptoms Of A Hernia

Hiatal hernias occur when some portion of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm and then into the area of the chest. This condition can cause some very noticeable and sometimes severe symptoms of acid reflux. In addition, some patients have acid reflux symptoms even without a hiatal hernia. A standard first step for treatment is to take medications designed to manage the acid reflux symptoms. If the first step is not successful, the doctor will most likely recommend 

surgery for reflux and hiatal hernia

.

A hiatal hernia can be repaired by surgery when the stomach is pulled back into the abdomen to reduce the size of the opening in the diaphragm. Furthermore, it is also possible that the surgical procedure will involve the removal of hernia sacs or reconstructing the esophageal sphincter muscle to prevent further reflux.

It should be noted that not everyone with hiatal hernia needs surgery to have their issues corrected. In general, surgery is only indicated in cases where other treatments are ineffective. However, if the patient is experiencing dangerous hernia symptoms such as the following, hiatal hernia surgery may be the only reasonable alternative.

  • Narrowing of the esophagus
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Formation of ulcers. 
  • Upper abdominal/chest pain
  • Recurrent pneumonia from aspiration

Preparing for hiatal hernia surgery/acid reflux surgery

Preparing for 

hiatal hernia surgery

, generally involves most of the following steps.

  • Patients should walk at least two miles or possibly three each day.
  • Patients should do some breathing exercises several times a day.
  • Patients need to abstain from smoking at least a month before hiatal hernia surgery.
  • Patients are required to fast from food or drink at least 12 hours before undergoing surgery.
How hernia surgeries are performed

Open repair

The open repair is a more invasive procedure than the laparoscopic or robotic version of surgery. With open surgery the

hiatal hernia surgeon

uses a large abdominal incision into the abdomen to repair and return the stomach to its original position. The patient incurs a more painful and prolonged recovery with this type of procedure.

Robotic/laparoscopic repair (minimally invasive surgery)

The minimally invasive repair is the preferred procedure used to treat a hernia. Patients and

Top hiatal hernia surgeons

 prefer minimally invasive

hiatal hernia and GERD surgery

 over open surgery since it offers improved outcomes with decreased pain and faster recovery.

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Care following your hiatal hernia/acid reflux surgery

Hiatal hernia/acid-reflux surgery

 post-operative care involves several procedures that must be firmly adhered to. Patients should make sure to do each of these to boost their recovery. The most commonly-used post-operative care procedures are the following.

Taking specific medication

As part of the recovery process, patients are generally given medication that must be taken with food. If any incisions were made during surgery, patients would typically experience a tingling sensation or possibly burning near the incision sites. Fortunately, this condition goes away fairly soon. If the discomfort lingers at all, the patient can take an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to alleviate this discomfort.

Regular wound care

Post surgery, the incision sites must be carefully cleaned daily to prevent infection. The cleaning can be done using a gentle soap and water scrub each day. It’s better to take showers. However, the patient is advised to avoid pools, hot tubs, or baths for at least a week.

Diet restriction

Patients can expect to be put on a somewhat restricted diet after the surgery to prevent the stomach from going through any unwanted expansion. Rather than eating three large meals per day, the patient is instructed to eat four and six small meals. Most people start on a liquid diet before moving on to solid soft foods, such as, mashed potatoes, Jell-O, soup, and scrambled eggs.
 
During the first week or two after the surgery, patients should avoid alcohol, citrus drinks, and tomato products that can irritate the stomach.. Also, they should refrain from ingesting any carbonated beverage and gassy foods such as cabbage, corn, beans, or cauliflower. An additional precaution is to avoid drinking through a straw.

Postoperative breathing exercises

In most cases, the doctor advises the patient to perform coughing and breathing exercises to help fortify and strengthen the patient’s diaphragm and improve lung expansion. As a general rule, these exercises will need to be performed daily or following the doctor’s specific instructions.

Regular exercise

As soon as the patient is able they should undertake a program of regular walks to ensure that blood clots do not form in the legs. Since

robotic hiatal hernia surgery

is considered major surgery, complete recovery may take as long as 6 to 8 weeks. However, the patient will probably be able to resume your normal activities in far less time than that. Driving may be permitted the day after the surgery if the patient is not taking narcotics for pain relief. Patients should be able to resume work in about two weeks, if their job does not involve heavy lifting. Return to work may take as long as one to two months if the patient’s work involves heavy lifting.
The long-term outlook from hiatal hernia/acid-reflux surgery
After the recovery period has concluded, all symptoms of nausea, heartburn, and acid reflux should have diminished to the point where they are no longer noticeable. The doctor might still recommend that the patient should avoid foods that cause heartburn, or beverages that could be problematic. However, this method is usually regarded as a precautionary measure until the doctor is sure that the patient has fully recovered.

If the symptoms do return when drinking carbonated beverages or eating acidic foods, the patient may have to abstain from ingesting those types of food or drink. This technique prevents the return of acid reflux. As mentioned earlier, the success rate for performing

hiatal hernia/acid reflux surgery

is somewhere around 90%. Thus, the chances that patients will have a complete recovery, and not worry that the symptoms will return, is high.

The Best hernia Surgical Center in Meridian, MS

Medical Arts Surgical Group of Meridian, MS, offers patients some of the best surgeons in the country. We take pride in our ability to provide the most advanced surgical care and techniques. If you are would like to schedule and appointment, please contact our office.