What is a hiatal hernia?
A hiatal hernia occurs when a part of the stomach pushes up into the chest above the diaphragm.
The diaphragm is the muscle that keeps the organs in your chest separate from the organs in your abdomen. It has an opening that allows the esophagus to reach the stomach. When the stomach pushes up through this opening, it is called a hiatal hernia.
GERD, or acid reflux, can be a symptom of a hiatal hernia.
How can surgery help? Is it the only treatment option?
Your doctor may recommend surgery to repair your diaphragm, so that the stomach cannot push through. This procedure is done with assistance from the da Vinci® robotic surgical system.
In most cases, hiatal hernias only cause mild symptoms—or even no symptoms at all. Surgery is usually used for patients with more severe symptoms, when lifestyle changes and medication do not help.
It is important to note that hiatal hernias can get bigger with time. If you have serious symptoms from a hiatal hernia, it is recommended that you consult a surgeon to determine if surgery is the right treatment.
Is it difficult to recover from this surgery?
Minimally invasive and robotic surgical techniques typically allow patients to recover much more quickly from surgery, compared to open surgical techniques.