A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach slips into the chest cavity. One of the most common factors that lead to a hiatal hernia is an abnormally large hiatus. This refers to the opening through which the esophagus passes from the chest to the abdomen. Another factor may be because of loose attachment between the esophagus and diaphragm. This causes the esophagus and stomach to slip up into the chest. A simple change in lifestyle may be able to ease symptoms, but hernia surgery Los Angeles doctors say may be required.
Hiatal hernias are diagnosed similarly to the way heartburn is. Your doctor may want to take an x-ray of your chest to help determine the best hernia repair Los Angeles patients say. If the x-ray is unclear in showing the extensiveness of the hiatal hernia, they may choose to take a blood sample to check the red blood cell count, or perform an endoscopy. An endoscopy can give the doctor a direct view of the hernia with a small video camera.
Hiatal hernia symptoms are not always painful. Some simple lifestyle changes may be able to subside what little symptoms are there. For example, trying to maintain a healthy diet as well as eliminating unhealthy factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption, will relieve pressure in the abdomen and heartburn. However, if your hiatal hernia is painful and lifestyle change has no effect, then surgery may be necessary.
A very dangerous type of hiatal hernia is a paraesophageal hernia. This type of hernia is more dangerous because of its high risk for becoming strangulated. A paraesophageal hernia is where a part of the stomach protrudes and lays alongside the esophagus when there is no movement of the gastroesophageal junction. The gastroesophageal junction is where the stomach and esophagus connect. The hiatus is repositioned and reinforced during surgery. Most commonly, the laparoscopic method is used to perform this surgery. A small camera is inserted into an incision so the doctor can see what is going on, while medical instruments are inserted into another incision to operate on the hernia.
Patients typically will stay in the hospital for one to two nights after undergoing paraesophageal hernia surgery. About two weeks after surgery patients are able to return to regular daily activities. It is crucial that all patients seek their doctor’s advice before returning to any intense or rigorous work. Everybody is different when it comes to how quick or slow they recover. Your surgeon will give you a specialized recovery plan to ensure the smoothest recovery.