Hiatal Hernia / Heartburn / GERD / Acid Reflux
- Friday, 02 October 2009 00:50
- Last Updated on Saturday, 22 February 2014 22:04
What is GERD?
What is a Hiatal Hernia?
Hiatal hernias occur when the stomach and esophagus slide up through the diaphragm into the chest. It is not a hernia in the abdominal wall just below the sternum as many patients presume. Sometimes pain is experienced in that area but it is not where the defect occurs. ypical symptoms are heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Paraesophageal hernias are more complicated defects that occur when part of the stomach is squeezed up into the chest beside the esophagus. The stomach can be strangulated, restricting blood supply to the related tissues.
These types of hernias are very complex and require expert evaluation and repair. Please see the HEARTBURN section of this site for details. There are some similarities between these defects and abdominal wall defects. In both situations the repair may be enhances and strengthened with the use of a mesh. The biologic ( absorbable) and permanent meshes can be used for a tension-free repair technique to repair esophageal hiatal defects during laparoscopic fundoplications and parasophageal hernia repairs. Fundoplication is a technique where part of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus and sewn into place. The patch/mesh can also be used to reinforce or buttress the hiatal hernia that has been closed primarily with sutures. This adds strength to the repair. Like any surgery, there is always a chance for complications, like infection or hernia recurrence. Your physician will discuss these with you prior to surgery. See our HIATAL and HEARTBURN VIDEOS for examples of surgery techniques.