Hiatal Hernia


Your diaphragm contains an opening through which the esophagus passess through before connecting to the stomach. A hiatal hernia occurs when weakness of the diaphragm allows a small portion of the stomach to protrude through the opening and into muscles between the abdomen and chest.

A small hernia will usually never cause problems, however a larger hiatal hernia causes discomfort and leads to severe Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Symptoms of a Hiatal Hernia

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation of food or liquids into mouth
  • Acid reflux
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

Risk Factors

Hiatal hernias are common in people who are:

  • Older than 50
  • Suffer from obesity

Paraesophageal Hernia

A paraesophageal hernia is a serious type of hiatal hernia that poses the risk of strangulation on the stomach. Patients with paraesophageal hernias are often older and lead unhealthy lifestyles than those with a typical hiatal hernia. These types of hernias are repaired via surgery, specifically through laparoscopy.

Hiatal Hernia Treatment Option

To effectively eliminate symptoms, hiatal hernias require surgery. Hiatal hernia surgery consists of minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques using about 5 small incisions. Although the procedure is extremely complex, Olde Del Mar Surgical has successfully completed hundreds of surgeries, both for revisional and treatment purposes.

Some patients who have surgery for hiatal hernia can experience difficulty swallowing or feeling bloated for up to 3 months after surgery. Most of the time these symptoms do not persist, and the likelihood of successful repair of the hiatal hernia approaches 95%.

For patients who suffer from severe obesity, in addition to a hiatal hernia, it is sometimes preferable to combine hiatal hernia repair with weight loss surgery. Dr. Bhoyrul would be happy to discuss whether or not this might be a preferred approach in your case.


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