Hernia Repair Surgery

Our diaphragm has a small opening called ‘hiatus’ – this is where the the food tube passes through before reaching your stomach. A Hiatal Hernia arises when the stomach bulges on its upper part separating the abdomen and chest. In a Hiatal Hernia, the stomach pushes on to the hiatus and into the chest.

Paraesophageal / Diaphragmatic / Hernia Repair

Paraesophageal or diaphragmatic hernia repair is a procedure to treat herniation of abdominal organs through the diaphragm and into the chest. The most common type of diaphragm hernia happens when part of your stomach pushes upward through your diaphragmatic hiatus. This is called a hiatal hernia.

A small hiatal hernia is usually no cause for concern as it comes with little or no complications; it may never even be discovered. A large hiatal hernia though, can send food back up your oesophagus, which can cause heartburn. There are 2 types of hiatal hernia, the “sliding” type and “rolling” type.

Sliding hiatal hernias are hernias that cause the gastro-oesophageal junction and part of the stomach to protrude into the chest. The protrusion may stay permanently in the chest, but it commonly only happens during swallowing.

With rolling hernias, part of the stomach goes through the hole in the diaphragm next to the oesophagus.

Medication can help relieve the symptoms, but sometimes the hernia is so big that surgery may be necessary.

Causes and Risk Factors of Hiatal Hernia

The cause of hiatal hernia is unknown. It can be a simple case of being born with a large hiatus, which makes it easier for the stomach to push through the diaphragm.

Other risk factors of hiatal hernia include:

  • Gender – it is more common in women
  • Age – more prevalent in people over 50
  • Weight – overweight people are at a higher risk

Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia

Many patients with a mild hiatal hernia do not experience much pain related to the condition, and those who do usually mistake it for heartburn or acid reflux.

In cases of a large hiatal hernia, patients may suffer significant symptoms and may need to see a doctor immediately. Some symptoms of a large hernia may include:

  • Heartburn
  • Sudden chest pain that can’t be treated with antacid
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea and Vomiting

Diagnosis of Hiatal Hernia

Doctors will use a specialized x-ray (barium swallow) which enables them to see inside the oesophagus.

Hiatal Hernia Treatment

  • A small hiatal hernia won’t necessarily need surgery, and doctors may only prescribe medication to reduce acidity, in order to protect the oesophagus from corrosion by the acid.

Singapore Hernia Repair Surgery

Hiatal Hernia Repair Surgery is usually only recommended for a sliding hiatus hernia if the problem fails to respond to treatment.

Digestive Centre is a medical clinic that offers Hernia Repair Surgery in Singapore. The surgery is done via laparoscopy, that minimises recovery downtime.

The repair of hiatal hernia may include the following:

  • Pulling the stomach down into the abdomen
  • Making the diaphragm opening smaller
  • Removing the hernia sac
  • Repairing a weak oesophageal sphincter using the fundus of the stomach (fundoplication)

Hiatal hernia repair is usually done via laparoscopy or keyhole surgery. Through this type of surgery, the doctor will make small incisions in the abdomen for entry of laparoscopic instruments and a camera that helps the surgeon see inside the body.

The hiatal hernia surgeon will then inflate the abdomen with carbon dioxide; to get more room to work in. The surgery may be carried out under general anaesthetic, so there won’t be any pain, and it will take about 1-2 hours to complete. You may need to stay in the hospital for a night or two to recover from the general aesthetic. Depending on the type of job you do, you should be able to return to work within three to six weeks.