Typical preparation for stomach or hiatal hernia surgery requires stopping all blood-thinning medications about a week in advance of the procedure and refraining from eating for eight hours before the operation, according to the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at Ohio State University. In some cases, the physician recommends stopping other medications. Presurgical tests include routine blood work, an EKG and a chest X-ray during the 24-hour period before surgery.
A stomach or hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity, states WebMD. Surgery is rarely required for the condition. Other treatment options include prescription or over-the-counter medications to stop symptoms, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn.
Surgery becomes a treatment option when the stomach is in danger of losing its blood supply, maintains the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery. The most common form of surgery for a stomach hernia is laparoscopic surgery, which uses very small incisions. The surgery requires general anesthesia and a two- or three-day hospital stay if there are no complications. The recovery period involves a slow return to a normal diet, some pain at the incision sites and mild swallowing difficulties for most patients. With the exception of strenuous physical activity, most patients resume normal activities within three weeks.