Hiatal Hernia Surgery

Philip L. Leggett, MD -  - General Surgery

Philip L. Leggett, MD

General Surgery & Acid Reflux Treatment located in Houston, TX

If your hiatal hernia is causing you pain or digestive issues, you need expert surgical repair. Philip L. Leggett, MD, and Seeyuen Lee, MD, provide quality hiatal hernia surgery to men and women in the Houston area. For a consultation regarding your hiatal hernia, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Hiatal Hernia Surgery Q & A

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia is a gastrointestinal condition where the stomach protrudes into your chest cavity through the space around your esophagus, called the hiatus. A hiatal hernia occurs at the point where your esophagus passes through the diaphragm muscle, which sits at the base of the lungs and above the stomach.

What causes a hiatal hernia isn’t always definite, but factors that could increase your risk include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Age-related changes to your tissues
  • Chest trauma
  • History of chest or diaphragm surgery
  • Increased pressure on the abdomen, like coughing or vomiting

If you have a hiatal hernia, you may not have significant symptoms, or you may have symptoms that mimic other digestive problems. A severe hiatal hernia can cause difficulty eating, severe acid reflux, damage to the esophagus, and gastric bleeding.

What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

If you have a small hiatal hernia, you may have no symptoms at all. If your hiatal hernia is larger, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Acid reflux or heartburn
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Difficulty swallowing or eating
  • Chest pain
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Gastric bleeding, or bleeding in the stomach
  • Vomiting blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Black or tarry stools

The team evaluates your symptoms using physical assessment and diagnostic studies, including X-ray or endoscopy, to diagnose your hiatal hernia. Endoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), uses a thin, flexible tube that houses a tiny light and camera to internally visualize your esophagus and stomach.

What are the treatment options for a hiatal hernia?

Initially, your hiatal hernia symptoms could improve with oral medications that reduce the production of stomach acid. If this doesn’t improve your symptoms or your symptoms get worse, surgery may be the best treatment.

Depending on the severity of your hiatal hernia, your surgeon offers surgical treatment options that include:

  • Laparoscopic surgery: a minimally invasive approach that uses long, thin instruments and a tiny camera placed through small holes in the abdomen
  • Open surgery: an approach that requires an incision to access and repair the hernia

Using either method, your highly skilled surgeon pulls the stomach back down below the diaphragm and tightens the hiatus to prevent reoccurrence of the hernia. They may also repair the damage caused by your hiatal hernia.

If you have a hiatal hernia, call or schedule an appointment with the team at Philip L. Leggett, MD, for expert surgical treatment.

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