A hernia is a term used to refer to the situation where an internal part of the body is forced into an area where it does not normally reside. A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach is forced upward through an opening in the diaphragm. There are two types of hiatal hernias: a sliding hiatal hernia and a paraesophageal hernia.

A paraesophageal hernia is the less common of the two, but it is also much more concerning. It is a large type of hiatal hernia that occurs when a portion of the stomach slides above the diaphragm and next to the esophagus. This can cause the stomach to twist, which can cut off or obstruct blood flow to it. In some cases, a paraesophageal hernia may simply weaken the valve between the stomach and esophagus and allow reflux to happen.

If the paraesophageal hernia does cause symptoms, the sufferer may experience:

  • Chest pains
  • Bloating
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dysphasia (trouble swallowing)
  • Epigastric pain (upper or mid-abdominal pain)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease

In these cases, the surgical repair of the area is required. The correction of a paraesophageal hernia is typically performed laparoscopically. At Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery, board-certified general surgeon Dr. Reginald Bell regularly performs surgery to correct paraesophageal hernias and can provide you with the professional medical care you need. If you are suffering from a hiatal hernia, large hiatal hernia, or a paraesophageal hernia, contact Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery today to schedule a consultation.