Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease / Hiatal Hernia

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease / Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which a small part of your stomach bulges through a hole in your diaphragm. This hole, called a “hiatus,” is a normal, anatomically correct opening that allows your esophagus to connect to your stomach.

The cause of a hiatal hernia is unknown, but weak supportive tissues are thought to play a role, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). The hernia itself can play a role in the development of acid reflux, or GERD.

Acid Reflux, or GERD, is condition when stomach juices back up into the esophagus which may be associated with injury to the lining of the esophagus.  Symptoms include heartburn, chronic cough, and voice changes.  Abnormal reflux may occur because of an abnormality of the  protective mechanism of the lower esophageal sphincter.  Injury to the lining of the esophagus can become cancer if untreated.   Medical treatment is with antacids.  However, surgical treatment using small 1cm incisions can be performed for those with incomplete control of reflux with medications, Barrett’s esophagus, and extraesophageal manifestations of reflux including respiratory manifestations, ear infections, and dental erosion.  This procedure is called Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication.