GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a pathology that causes food to return to the esophagus once it has passed into the stomach. In its most severe cases, it may require surgical treatment.
The cause of gastric reflux is usually a problem in the esophagus muscles, which do not close properly, causing heartburn, burning, and difficulty swallowing and digesting certain foods. This symptom increases if the person suffers from a hiatal hernia.
Suppose you suffer from this condition and will have to undergo surgery in the following FastlyHealarticle. In that case, we will explain everything you need to know about the hiatal hernia operation: what it consists of and recovery.
How is the hiatal hernia operation
The operation with which most severe cases of gastroesophageal reflux are solved is the fundoplication, but what does this intervention consist of?
The first objective is to repair the hiatal hernia, which is done by suturing the opening of the diaphragm so that the stomach cannot expel food up through that opening. Depending on which cases, a mesh can be placed to ensure that it does not protrude upwards.
Subsequently, the upper area of the stomach is wrapped with sutures with the end of the esophagus, ensuring that neither food nor gastric acids can be returned to the esophagus once they are in the stomach.
Given the nature of the intervention, all this is done under general anesthesia, so the patient is asleep and without feeling any pain for the duration of the operation. Typically it takes 2-3 hours, although occasionally, it can take longer or shorter depending on the technique you use.
Funding can be done in different ways with other techniques, depending on the particularity of each case. We will explain them to you below:
- Through an opening in the patient’s abdomen, it is the traditional system.
- A tube is inserted into the stomach through the core so that the stomach wall stays in place.
- After a week, the catheter is removed.
- Instead of a large opening, 3 to 5 small incisions are made in the abdomen.
- A small camera, a laparoscope, is inserted into one of these openings, where the operation will be observed.
- The surgical tools with which one will work will be introduced in the others.
- The process is performed by observing the image captured by the laparoscope on a monitor.
- If a problem arises during the operation, open surgery can be performed.
- This procedure is relatively new and is gaining ground thanks to the fact that it is a technique with which no cut is made.
- A camera, an endoscope, is passed through the mouth into the esophagus.
- With another tool, the surgeon will staple the area between the esophagus and the stomach so that it is sealed and neither acids nor food can rise upwards.
When to do the hiatal hernia operation
The hiatal hernia operation is the last phase in treating this condition; it can be tried with other less invasive treatments before reaching this point. Only when these do not work will it be advisable to undergo surgery. Here we explain the possibilities you should consider before undergoing an operation for GERD :
- Medicines such as proton pump inhibitors.
- Changes in lifestyle and diet.
A hiatal hernia operation should be performed when:
- You don’t respond to medical treatment.
- Drugs have other side effects for you.
- You have other esophagus problems such as bleeding, ulcers, or narrowing.
- It causes aspiration pneumonia, hoarseness, or a chronic cough.
Recovery after hiatal hernia operation
Hiatal hernia surgery, especially laparoscopic, has relatively fast recovery times. The hospitalization period ranges from 1 to 3 days after the operation, although in open surgery cases, this can be extended to 6 days.
We must be aware that being discharged from the hospital does not mean returning to daily activities; to be able to return to everyday day-to-day life, between 3 and 6 weeks must pass, depending on the patient.
During this time, there are a series of care that you must carry out so that the healing process usually proceeds and no problems arise. This care focuses on two key points: a liquid diet and wound care.
How should the diet be after the operation?
- The diet should be liquid during the first two weeks and in the following 2, a semi-liquid diet with soft foods.
- At first, the quantities will be small, one cup each time, taking small sips and without swallowing.
- It would help if you did not drink icy liquids.
- You should not drink carbonated beverages and sodas.
- You should not drink through straws, as this can allow air to enter the stomach.
- The pills and other medications must be crushed and taken with water during the month after the operation.
- When you reintroduce solid foods, do so in small amounts, chewing correctly.
- Do not eat cold products.
- Don’t eat foods that clump together, such as bread or rice.
How the wound should be cared for
- If stitches have been used the day after the operation, you should remove the gauze and adequately wash the area. It would help if you repeated this operation regularly.
- If you use strips of tape to close your skin, cover them with plastic wrap before you shower to prevent water from getting in or wet. Do not try to remove the videos; they will fall off by themselves when the wound heals.
- Do not swim; take a bath in the bathtub or a jacuzzi until your doctor tells you to.
Other tips during recovery
- To relieve the gases that can be produced, it is advisable to walk a little.
- When you are taking pain relievers, do not carry machinery or drive.
- While you are taking painkillers, you cannot drink any alcohol.
- Eat small amounts throughout the day.
- Do not lift anything that weighs more than 4 kilos, do not push or strain.
- You increase your activity little by little, measuring your sensations and pain.
The burning, heartburn, and all the symptoms you felt before should disappear or, at least, improve after the hiatal hernia operation. However, in some patients, it will be necessary to continue taking anti-reflux medication and even undergo a second operation.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to the Hiatal hernia operation: what it consists of and recovery, we recommend entering our Digestive system category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.