Hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach slides up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm called the diaphragmatic hiatus. The diaphragm is the dome-shaped muscle separating the abdomen from the chest.
Hiatal hernia may have no symptoms in some individuals and only found incidentally during routine X-rays. In others it may cause symptoms of acid reflux, abdominal pain, chest discomfort, bloating, and difficulty with swallowing. Occasionally patients experience complications such as volvulus (twisting) and strangulation (compromise of blood supply) of the stomach.
Hiatal hernia and its paraesophageal variant require surgical treatment if they cause severe symptoms or if the stomach is at danger of volvulus and strangulation. Fortunately with minimally invasive surgery, your surgeon can restore your anatomy, reduce the size of the hernia, and perform an anti-reflux operation simultaneously all through very small laparoscopic incisions. With this approach most patients can expect to be released from the hospital within 24-48 hours, resume their daily activities and return to work within a few days, and resume more strenuous activities within 4-6 weeks.