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When part of an internal organ protrudes through a weakened area of muscle, it is known as a hernia. The muscle may have been weakened from birth, or it may have become weaker due to strain, such as that caused by obesity, coughing or heavy lifting. A laparoscopic procedure known as a hernia repair is a hernia surgery needed to treat this condition.

Some common types of hernias that are treated with hernia surgery include:

  • Inguinal Hernia: occurs when a part of the intestine or internal body fat pushes through the inguinal canal, an opening in the abdominal wall of the groin. This is the most common type of hernia.
  • Femoral Hernia: occurs between the abdomen and the thigh in the passage that normally contains the femoral artery and vein. These types of hernias are more common in women than in men and can often be recognized as a lump in the upper part of the thigh.
  • Umbilical Hernia: occurs when part of the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall below the belly button. These hernias are most likely to occur in infants, obese adults, or women who have had multiple pregnancies.
  • Hiatal Hernia: occurs when the top part of the stomach passes through the opening in the diaphragm, which separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity. A hiatal hernia often causes acid reflux disease.

During hernia surgery, Dr. Bass will close the hernia and strengthen the muscle wall. In many cases, a plastic mesh and special fasteners are used to strengthen the area and prevent a hernia from recurring.

Does my Hiatal Hernia need Hernia Repair?

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which the stomach protrudes into the chest through the hiatus, which is an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscular wall that functions by separating the chest from the abdomen. The hiatus is a small opening in this muscular wall that allows the esophagus to deliver food into the stomach. There are two types of hiatal hernias that you may experience. Both can be corrected with Hernia Surgery

1. Sliding hiatal hernia: This is the most common type of hiatal hernia. During a sliding hiatal hernia, the stomach and a portion of the esophagus that connects to the stomach slide upwards into the chest through the hiatus.

2. Paraesophageal hernia: This type of hiatal hernia is much less common, but is also much more severe than a sliding hiatal hernia. During this type of hernia, part of the stomach protrudes through the hiatus and pushes up against the esophagus. This can become a serious condition because this blockage could lead to the stomach being cut off from its blood supply.

For many people, hiatal hernias develop without any signs or symptoms. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a common co-morbid condition that is often experienced alongside hiatal hernias. While hiatal hernias do not cause heartburn or acid reflux directly, these symptoms are often experienced in conjunction with the condition.

The exact cause of hiatal hernias is unclear. Often, patients that develop the condition were naturally born with an increased risk for developing a hernia due to an enlarged hiatal opening. Other possible causes include:

• Pregnancy

• Obesity

• Severe or chronic cough

• Straining during bowel movements

Individuals over the age of 50 and those that are overweight are at an increased risk of developing hiatal hernias. In addition, women are more likely to develop the condition than are men. Generally, a hiatal hernia can be diagnosed with the use of a specialized x-ray and barium swallow, or via an endoscopy. Due to the lack of symptoms, many patients do not require any treatment for hiatal hernias. However, patients that suffer from paraesophageal hernias do occasionally require surgery. Surgery for hiatal hernia repair is performed laparoscopically, which means that the operation is minimally invasive. Dr. Bass is able to repair the hernia for patients in Ft. Myers with the use of laparoscopic tools through minor incisions in the abdominal wall. Laparoscopic hernia repair offers many benefits over other forms of surgery, including minimal scarring, reduced risk of complications, and a faster recovery.