A hiatal hernia, located at the base of the esophagus, requires surgery for repair if it displays the potential for constriction or strangulation, states WebMD. This surgery reduces the hernia by putting tissue back where it belongs. A few incisions are made in the abdomen during laparoscopic surgery, and this allows for less pain, less risk of infection and a more rapid recovery than invasive procedures. Hiatal hernias that do not cause symptoms do not require repair.
In laparoscopic surgery, the attending physician makes a few 5 to 10 millimeter incisions that he then inserts a laparoscope through to view inside the abdomen, says WebMD. The laparoscope transmits images of the internal abdomen to a monitor for viewing. Typically, patients can resume regular activities within a week, and they do not need dietary restrictions. However, patients must avoid hard labor and heavy lifting for at least three months post surgery. While surgery can help repair a hiatal hernia, the hernia may still return.
For those with an existing hiatal hernia, symptoms that require a doctor's visit include severe pain in the chest or abdomen, vomiting or becoming nauseated, constipation, or the inability to pass gas, cautions WebMD. These symptoms could indicate a strangulated hernia or an obstruction, conditions that are considered medical emergencies.