Hiatal hernia is the abnormal increase in size of the opening in the diaphragm. This may result in the herniation or bulging of abdominal contents into the chest. This causes acid reflux and also damages the esophagus.
It can also cause stomachs or intestines to twist, known as volvulus. This is a near fatal situation and requires immediate medical attention.
Hiatal Hernia can be cured by Hernia Surgery. There are two kinds of Hernia Surgery which can be performed, open surgery and laparoscopic surgery.
In open hiatal hernia surgery the patient is placed under general anesthesia. His stomach area near the abdomen is cut. The hiatus is tightened. If required fundus or the stomach’s upper part is wrapped around esophagus. This is known as fundoplication and is done to reduce the heartburn. Through the abdominal wall sometimes a tube (temporary) is placed from the stomach. This ensures that the stomach remains in its position.
If the condition is favorable then laparoscopic surgery is performed. Laparoscopic surgery is also known as pin-hole surgery. (It is now very popular and is also used in other surgeries too like vasectomy surgery) Mounted with a mini camera, it is a hollow thin tube. Through laparoscope the surgical tools are sent. A small cut is made and the laparoscope is inserted through this cut. These surgeries are now most preferred. The surgeon located the stomach through the laparoscope and if required the stomach through the diaphragm is pulled down into abdominal cavity. When the diaphragm defect is too large then it is stitched or a mesh graft is put in that place, but this happens rarely. Laparoscopic surgery is less painful and the patient needs to spend less time in hospital.
Often a nasogastric tube is placed in the stomach through the nose and throat during the Hernia Surgery. Many surgeons recommend leaving it inside for a few days after the surgery.
Both kinds of hiatal hernia surgery is not entirely painless. Some pain can be expected after the surgery. But doctors prescribe medications which gives some relief. But severe pain or vomiting must be immediately taken care of. These happen when there in an infection at the operated site. If not treated immediately it may become serious.