Hiatal Hernia Surgery / Nissen Fundoplication Surgery
What Is A Hiatal Hernia?
A hiatal hernia refers to a condition where the upper part of the stomach and oesophagus protrude past the opening (also known as hiatus) in the diaphragm into the chest cavity. This results in the stomach bulging through the diaphragm, which may lead to reflux symptoms, lung complications, and pain.
This condition is observed to occur more frequently in patients over the age of 50.
What Causes A Hiatal Hernia?
While there are no known causes for hiatal hernia, studies have shown that people who experience injuries to the abdomen or chest may be prone to experiencing this condition.
This could potentially be due to the damage leading to weakness in the muscle tissue, allowing the stomach to push through the diaphragm when pressure is exerted.
Other causes of Hiatal hernias may be linked to forceful coughing, heaving from vomiting, straining during bowel movements and carrying of heavy objects.
Hiatal hernias have also been linked to risk factors such as obesity, ageing, and smoking.
Are There Different Types Of Hiatal Hernias?
There are two types of Hiatal hernias:
Sliding Hiatal Hernia
Fixed (Paraesophageal) Hiatal Hernia
Sliding Hiatal Hernia
Sliding Hiatal Hernias are the most common type of Hiatal hernias. The condition occurs when the bottom of the oesophagus, also known as the gullet, and the top of the stomach protrude through the hole (hiatus) in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the lungs from the abdomen. This results in the hernia sliding into and out of the chest through the hiatus.
Fixed Hiatal Hernia
Fixed Hiatal Hernia, also known as a paraesophageal hernia, is a different type of hiatal hernia that is less common.
A portion of the stomach pushes past the diaphragm in a fixed hernia and remains fixed in the location, resulting in a bulge. In such cases, the fixed hiatal hernia may obstruct the blood flow to the stomach, causing a possible risk or medical emergency.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Hiatal Hernia?
Patients with hiatal hernia may not immediately present any symptoms. For those that do, common symptoms may include:
Heartburn, which is a burning sensation felt in the chest
Feelings of nausea
An obstructed hernia may lead to a blockage in the blood flow to the stomach, which can be a serious issue. You are advised to seek medical attention if you experience long periods of vomiting, pain or observe blood in your stools or black stools.
While it may seem that the symptoms of hiatal hernia are similar to that of other gastrointestinal diseases, it is difficult to diagnose the condition without further investigations.
If you are experiencing frequent bouts of the symptoms mentioned above, consider scheduling an appointment with a medical professional for a proper diagnosis.
Do I Need Surgery for My Hiatal Hernia?
Hiatal hernias do not go away without surgery. However, for patients who experience mild symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux, they may be prescribed medication to manage the condition before surgery is recommended.
Medications such as antacids, H2-receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors are some of the options that our doctor may prescribe to help lower or neutralise the effects of stomach acid on your oesophageal walls, giving it more time to heal.
If the condition continues to worsen or becomes more frequent, surgery will be the option to treat hiatal hernia.
Using the Laparoscopic Fundoplication technique to treat her hiatal hernia, the doctor made incisions less than an inch compared to a 12-inch-long incision in the abdomen in open surgeries. This also ensured that Char was able to recover faster and get back to living her life.
Dr Ganesh: “Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication is one of the recommended treatments that we suggest to patients who have experienced long and severe bouts with GERD or Hiatal hernias. It is minimally invasive so patients can generally expect a quicker recovery time and with a lower risk of complications.”
Nissen Fundoplication can be performed either as an open surgery or laparoscopically.
In both types of procedures (whether open or laparoscopic), a Nissen Fundoplication involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower oesophagus.
This tightens the sphincter around the lower oesophagus, and makes it less likely that acid will flow back up the oesophagus.
This procedure serves to tighten and reinforce the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) and has a high success rate in helping patients recover and prevent recurrence in the long run.
What Happens After I Treat My Hernia?
After your surgery, it is common to experience discomfort around the surgical site and even the shoulder. Our surgeon will prescribe medication to help ease this discomfort as you recover.
Tending to your wound will require extra care. You are advised to carefully follow our surgeon’s instructions to prevent complications or infections during your recovery.
Open surgery often requires a longer recovery process than laparoscopic surgery. Your surgeon will let you know when you can return to your regular routine.
Following the surgery, you will be able to move around normally, but you may be advised to avoid any strenuous activity. Additionally, you should avoid carrying and lifting heavy objects during this recovery period. This is to prevent adding stress and strain to the wounds and the operative site.
You will likely be required to eat slowly and chew your food more thoroughly before you swallow, after surgery.
What To Expect With Hiatal Hernia Surgery / Nissen Fundoplication?
Before the procedure
Fasting is required 8 hours prior to your procedure
Stop any prescription of aspirin or other blood thinning medications with a doctors advice.
All regular medications will be stopped unless absolutely necessary under a doctors supervision.
Be prepared to have an average hospital stay following the procedure in between 2-3 days.
On the day of the procedure
This procedure is usually performed under general anaesthesia.
Small incisions will be made on the belly for the laparoscope.
The length of surgery varies from patient to patient.
Your surgeon will advise you on the specific details.
After the procedure
Allow a few days for recovery.
Avoid heavy lifting for at least a week.
What Are The Side Effects Of Hiatal Hernia Surgery / Nissen Fundoplication?
A Nissen Fundoplication is a relatively safe procedure when performed laparoscopically. This allows smaller incisions to be made and aids in faster recovery. However, as with most surgeries, some patients may experience rare cases of complications.
The complications may include:
Damage to the linings of the stomach, oesophagus or tissues around the lungs during the procedure
Infection from the wound
Difficulty in swallowing
Nausea or the urge to vomit
Excessive gas in the stomach
Dumping Syndrome (a condition associated with patients who have done gastric or oesophageal surgery where food moves rapidly through the stomach to the small intestines, resulting in abdominal pain and other symptoms.)
In extremely rare cases, a Nissen Fundoplication may fail and result in the recurrence of symptoms. In such cases, the wrap around the oesophagus could have been too tight or incorrectly placed, resulting in the need to repeat the surgery to fix the failure.
Are There Any Dietary Restrictions After Hiatal Hernia Surgery / Nissen Fundoplication?
A patient who has undergone a fundoplication would be advised to make dietary changes to avoid complications after the procedure. A dietary change can also aid in preventing any long term effects of discomfort following the surgery.
Following the surgery, you will be expected to make the changes to your diet according to the different phases. This is what may be recommended:
Recovery Phase (2 weeks after surgery): Liquid or soft diet. You are recommended to consume only liquid for the recovery phase and avoid carbonated beverages. Food such as soup and yoghurt are recommended.
Acclimatisation Phase (3-4 weeks after surgery): Soft to light solid food diet. You can start introducing solid foods that are easily digestible into your diet. These can include bread, mashed potato. Your food should also not be overly spicy or oily to prevent causing discomfort.
Maintenance Phase (1 Month after surgery and long term): Solid food diet. You can return to your usual diet. However, you are advised to avoid eating foods that are rough and may become stuck in the oesophagus, such as chicken, steak or nuts.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Hiatal Hernia Surgery / Nissen Fundoplication?
A patient who undergoes a fundoplication procedure can be discharged within two days after the surgery. Patients who opt for open surgery may be required to stay longer as the operation involves a bigger incision, requiring more extended periods to recover.
Following the surgery, you will likely require tube feeding in the initial two weeks. After that, patients will resume consumption of a liquid diet for another two weeks before progressing to soft foods and finally returning to eating normally after 1 to 3 months.
Depending on whether you opt for open surgery or laparoscopic surgery for your fundoplication, the recovery of your wound would also differ.
Similarly, the recovery of the wound will differ between individuals. Most patients should recover within two weeks from the surgery if there are no serious complications or infections observed.
For a more accurate assessment of your recovery period, you may seek advice from our doctor to get a clearer picture.
Should You Opt for Hiatal Hernia / Nissen Fundoplication?
This is done for severe heartburn. This means that there is daily burning pain behind the chest bone for a few months. Surgery is recommended especially if the pain persists despite medication and lifestyle changes. These symptoms occur if the muscles between your oesophagus and stomach are not tight enough. This allows acid to flow back up to the oesophagus, causing the discomfort.
Why Choose Us For Your Hiatal Hernia Treatments In Singapore?
Dr Ganesh at G & L Surgical Clinic strives to prioritise his patients’ recovery and comfort. Having had adequate experience in performing hiatal hernia surgeries for numerous patients for many years in Singapore.
Furthermore, the staff at G & L Surgical Clinic have been thoroughly and adequately trained to make your experience a comfortable and hassle-free one. Whether you intend to undergo our hernia treatments, procedures or other medical services in Singapore, you can rest assured that you will be properly and sufficiently cared for by trained professionals.
Organise a consultation with our surgeons for further assistance on hiatal hernia treatments in Singapore.
Frequently Asked Questions
I Don’t Have Any Symptoms Now. Should I Get Hernia Surgery?
If your hernia currently does not present any symptoms, our doctor may advise you just to monitor and observe the lump. However, if the hernia starts to hurt, you may be advised to undergo a hernia repair to prevent further complications.
When Should I Consider Hernia Repair Surgery?
There are several factors that can contribute to the decision of when to have hernia repair surgery. One important consideration is the size of the hernia. Hernias that are large or growing rapidly are more likely to require surgery sooner than smaller ones. Hernias causing pain or interfering with daily activities are also generally candidates for repair.
If you are considering hernia surgery, talk to our doctor about your specific situation to determine the best course of treatment.
How Do I Choose A Hernia Surgeon?
While selecting your hernia surgeon, it might be ideal if you consider their experience and training in the field. Additionally, you’ll want to get recommendations from friends or family who have had hernia surgery. Finally, once you have the information you need, schedule a consultation with the surgeon of choice to see if they are the right fit for you.
It is important that you feel comfortable and secure in your choice of hernia surgeon.
Is Hernia Surgery A Major Surgery?
Hernia surgery is considered major surgery, but it is usually safe and effective with advances in surgical techniques and anaesthesia. Recovery time varies depending on the type of hernia and the individual but is typically short, with most people returning to their regular activities within a few weeks.
Where Are The Incisions For Hiatal Hernia Surgery?
The incisions will be made above the belly button where the laparoscope will be inserted.
How Long Is A Hiatal Hernia Repair Surgery? Will I Be Able To Go Home On The Same Day?
In general, the surgery can take between 2-3 hours, depending on the complexity of the case. Patients may be expected to stay 1-2 nights for observation.
How Long Will I Be Expected To Stay In The Hospital After A Hernia Repair?
In most cases, patients will be expected to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days following the procedure, depending on their individual recovery needs. During this time, patients may experience some mild discomfort and may need to take pain medication as needed. After being discharged, you should also expect a full recovery from your hernia repair within 3-6 weeks.
I had been experiencing pain in the stomach for a few months but never thought to do anything about it. It was one of the days that I felt unbearable pain and finally got my friend to find a doctor for me.
We found Dr Ganesh and his team online and immediately, we scheduled an appointment with him on the day. Thanks to Dr Ganesh, I got to know I have acid reflux and he recommended some medication for me and within a week I was feeling much better. I am thankful to Dr Ganesh for being kind and patient in his explanation since I have never heard of acid reflux.
He also recommended that I change my diet, which has also helped me feel less discomfort so far. I am forever grateful to his team at G&L Surgical. Thanks to Lisa, Jiaxin, Ann and Angeline too for assisting me all the way. Keep doing the great work!
Suane Espinosa Baltazar5
I know I have had heartburn for some time but didn’t dare to see a doctor because I heard from friends that you will need to go for surgery to have it treated.
It was one of the days when I started feeling the symptoms again but this time the pain on my chest was quite unbearable. I immediately scheduled an appointment with Dr Ganesh following a friend’s referral and I am so thankful that I got to meet him.
He was very assuring, telling me that there are different options apart from surgery that can treat my condition and that it is not true that all acid reflux needs to be treated with surgery. I was so thankful to know that and I asked him all the questions and he managed to answer them patiently.
Turns out, my condition is not that serious yet but I will need to change what I eat so that it will not trigger my symptoms.
Dr Ganesh’s staff was also very helpful, I left my medication at the clinic and they immediately got someone to send it over to my house too. This is really great service and a clinic that cares for their patients.
If you are finding a reliable doctor that can be trusted, go look for Dr Ganesh and his team.
Dr Ganesh is one of the best doctors you can find. I have severe acid reflux and the previous doctors I saw were unable to help me. First time I saw him, he already knew what to do.
He reviewed my condition and recommended that I undergo a nissen fundoplication surgery, at that time I have no idea what it was but he patiently explained it to me. I felt an affinity and thank God for pointing Dr Ganesh to me.
I underwent the surgery and everything went well. Now I am in my second week of recovery and Dr Ganesh is still patiently finding out if I am recovering well on all the reviews.
If you are looking for a caring and professional doctor that will be with you throughout the journey, he is the one you are looking for. Thank you to Dr Ganesh and his team, thank you to Lisa, Jiaxin, Ann and Angeline, all these lovely angels who help do great work for the patients.
Jaz Ong 5 Stars
Dr Ganesh is a kind, compassionate and patient doctor. I have been having acid reflux for a month and got to know I have GERD after a gastroscopy with him. Dr Ganesh was very nice, he explained all the questions I have regarding the condition and assured me that it can be treated.
I was afraid of undergoing a major surgery but through his recommendations, I underwent a laparoscopic nissen fundoplication, which he assured me is less invasive. Thanks to him, I feel much better and it has been 3 weeks since I had the operation.
Everything is getting better so far, and i no longer feel any of the symptoms, although there are some changes to my lifestyle, I couldn’t be more thankful to Dr Ganesh. Thank you to the nurses at G&L too for all your kind assistance.
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Dr. Ganesh Ramalingam
Specialist in General Surgery
As a strong proponent of treating the patient holistically instead of just their condition, Dr Ganesh Ramalingam advises patients as to how they can manage their daily habits and diets to lead healthier lifestyles. As a consultant with G&L Surgical Clinic specialising in General Surgery, he sees many patients with conditions related to the stomach and is skilled in bariatric surgery, upper GI and hernia surgery, advanced laparoscopic surgery, endoscopies, and trauma.
G&L Surgical Clinic will do our best to provide you with an estimate of your out-of-pocket expenses before your procedure. With a comprehensive financing service, we endeavour to assist you in finding the most suitable financing option to enjoy a seamless and pleasant experience. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. We are here to help you get the care you need.