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Hiatal Hernia Repair Surgery at Our Los Angeles Center

When you swallow a piece of food, it travels from the back of your throat to the long tube of your esophagus to your stomach. Your diaphragm, or muscles used for breathing that sit above your stomach, has a small hole in it, known as a hiatus, to allow for the esophagus. When your stomach pushes up through this hiatus, this is known as a hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernias can occur for a number of reasons, including: being born with a large hiatus; extra pressure on the muscles when coughing, straining or vomiting; or trauma to the chest or stomach. If you are obese or over 50, you are at an increased risk for developing a hiatal hernia.

Not all hiatal hernias cause symptoms. You may live with a hiatal hernia your entire life without experiencing pain or symptoms. However, larger hiatal hernias can cause uncomfortable symptoms, which include:

  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Unexplained fatigue


If you are experiencing discomforting symptoms related to your hiatal hernia, your physician may recommend consulting a miVIP surgeon to explore the hiatal hernia repair procedure. Surgery is typically indicated if your hiatal hernia does not respond to medications to treat acid reflux. If you experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic form of acid reflux, your surgeon may repair the hiatal hernia in conjunction with surgery to reduce your GERD symptoms.

However, hiatal hernia repair surgery also is indicated if the hiatus is becoming narrower with time or if you are experiencing lung inflammation due to gastric fluids entering the lungs via the hiatus.

Surgical Repair

If hiatal hernia repair is indicated, you miVIP surgeon can perform the procedure laparoscopically. This means your surgeon will use several small incisions to access the hiatal hernia instead of one large one. The procedure requires you to receive general anesthesia, which will place you into a deep sleep so you will not feel pain during the procedure. Your surgeon typically will make about three incisions several inches above your belly button. He or she will insert a scope or thin tube with a camera on the end through one of the incision sites. Small, thin instruments will be inserted through the remaining incisions.

Your surgeon will first pull the stomach and lower esophagus back into their proper location in your abdomen. The hiatus will then be tightened to prevent future hiatal hernias from occurring. The stomach also will be stitched in the proper position to keep the hernia from forming again. If you suffer from severe reflux, your surgeon also may perform a fundoplication, a surgery that involves wrapping a portion of the stomach around your esophagus to minimize acid reflux.

Hiatal Hernia Surgery Recovery

Less noticeable scarring is not the only benefit associated with laparoscopic hiatal hernia surgery. The smaller incisions mean you experience benefits such as:

  • Less bleeding risk
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less infection risk
  • Less post-operative pain


While the laparoscopic approach does minimize your surgery risks, you can still expect a recovery period of anywhere from one to three days in the hospital. Traditional, open surgery can require a hospital stay of between two and six days. After your body has had time to heal, you can typically return to work after two to three weeks if you have had laparoscopic hiatal hernia surgery.

After your body has had time to heal, you can expect to experience fewer symptoms related to acid reflux. However, it is possible you may need to continue taking heartburn medications. While the surgery can be a lasting solution in some patients, a hiatal hernia can return with time. Always notify your physician if you experience recurring symptoms.

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