A hernia is defined as a medical condition where an organ or fatty tissue (adipose tissue) pushes through a weak spot in the surrounding connective tissue or a muscle. Based on its occurrence in the body, there are various types of hernia, one of which is the dreaded hiatal hernia. In a hiatal hernia, the fundus part of the stomach protrudes through an opening between the abdomen and the diaphragm, creating a bulge in the chest cavity. Large hiatal hernia can cause problems like regurgitation, persistent heartburn, vomiting and chest pain requiring medical care. If you live in Dallas and are experiencing such concerns, you should consult a general surgeon in Dallas before it’s too late. In this blog, we present answers to some commonly asked questions about the hiatal hernia. Read on.
1. What causes hiatal hernia?
A hiatal hernia can happen to anyone irrespective of age and gender. One of the most common causes of this condition is the increased pressure in the abdominal cavity. This is the space in the middle of the anterior side of the human body, just below the chest and above the groin area. The abdominal cavity includes several vital organs of the human body, such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys, gallbladder, and intestines that facilitate one or more physiological processes in the body.
The increased pressure in the abdominal cavity can result from several factors such as age-related changes in the diaphragm, heavy lifting without an abdominal or spinal support belt, vomiting, and strain due to constipation. It is also noteworthy that obesity and pregnancy can also increase the susceptibility of developing a hiatal hernia. Whatever the precursor might be, the root cause remains the same: excessive pressure in the abdominal cavity. If you have been prescribed hiatal surgery or want to know about hiatal hernia treatment options, reach out to a general surgeon in Dallas that can take your case with utmost care.
2. How is hiatal hernia diagnosed?
Hiatal hernia can be easily diagnosed through various tests:
- Endoscopy: It is a laparoscopic procedure to view the upper digestive system from the inside with the help of an endoscope, which is a thin, long, and flexible instrument of a quarter an inch in radius.
- Gastric Emptying Studies: It is a test to determine the time an individual’s body requires for transferring a meal through the stomach. In layman’s language, it determines how fast the food moves through the stomach.
- Esophageal Manometry: Pronounced as ‘ee-so-fa-gus muh-nom-uh-tree’, this procedure is done to understand the strength and coordination of the muscles in the esophagus during swallowing.
- Ph Test: It is used to determine the acid levels in the esophagus to find acid-related issues or symptoms in the patients.
- Barium Swallow Test (Esophagogram): This is an innovative way to find any issues in the esophagus and stomach through X-ray fluoroscopy.
To learn more about these diagnostic procedures, consult a leading general surgeon in Dallas, Texas.
3. When is surgery required for a hiatal hernia?
Surgery is not the only treatment for hiatal hernia. The surgical option is primarily advised only for those patients who have observed unsatisfactory results from medications, are experiencing severe heartburn and acid reflux or have other grave complications such as the severe inflammation of the GI tract. Another situation where you might be prescribed hiatal hernia surgery is when there is danger to your blood supply being cut off due to the stomach crushing your esophagus.
The purpose of a hiatal hernia surgery is to treat gastroesophageal reflux by constructing a better valve apparatus at the bottom of the esophagus. In this hernia surgery (fundoplication), the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower part of the esophagus. A hiatal hernia repair may involve moving your stomach down into your gut, narrowing the opening in your diaphragm or recreating an esophageal sphincter. In morbidly obese patients, a hiatal hernia surgery is sometimes paired with weight-loss surgery, such as a sleeve gastrectomy. Among the various surgical options, a single incision in your chest wall (thoracotomy) or a minimally invasive or laparoscopic procedure Nissen Fundoplication may be used to do surgery. During laparoscopy, your surgeon inserts a tiny camera and specific surgical tools into your abdomen through many small incisions. The surgery is then carried out as your surgeon watches images from within your body on a video monitor.
As a patient, it is your right and in your benefit to learn about the ins and outs of the surgery you are being prescribed. This is why finding the right surgeon who can understand your medical history and prescribe the best solution for hernia repair. Remember, one lapse or mistake can inflict lifelong implications for you. When looking for hiatal hernia surgery in Dallas, Fort Worth or anywhere in Texas, consult an experienced doctor that understands your condition and takes you into confidence at every step of the procedure.