If the hiatal hernia is
in danger of becoming constricted or strangulated (so that the blood supply is
cut off), surgery may be needed to reduce the hernia, meaning put it back where
Hiatal hernia surgery can often be performed as a laparoscopic, or
"minimally invasive," procedure. During this type of surgery, a few
small (5 to 10 millimeter) incisions are made in the abdomen. The laparoscope
that allows the surgeon to see inside the abdomen and surgical instruments are
inserted through these incisions. The surgeon is guided by the laparoscope,
which transmits a picture of the internal organs to a monitor. The advantages
of laparoscopic surgery include smaller incisions, less risk of infection, less
pain and scarring, and a more rapid recovery.
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Many patients are able to walk around the day after hernia surgery. Generally,
there are no dietary restrictions and the patient can resume his or her regular
activities within a week. Complete recovery will take two to three weeks, and
hard labor and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least three months after
surgery. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee, even with surgery, that the
hernia will not return.