A PEH hernia is a hernia caused when the esophagus is too big to go through the hiatus in the diaphragm and the stomach or abdomen are pushed upward in the opening through pressure. This piece of the stomach or abdomen can cause a bubble next to the esophagus that can also bring stomach acid into the esophagus causing pain and discomfort. In addition, a PEH hernia can cause damage to the stomach when left untreated, as the trapped portion of the stomach will die without the necessary oxygen being driven to it. The patient might also experience difficulty swallowing, breathing and suffer chest pain.
How to Treat a PEH Hernia
The most common method for dealing with a PEH hernia that doesn’t resolve itself is with laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair. This PEH hernia repair is done with a laparoscopic device that is inserted into a small incision in the patient’s abdomen. The laparoscopic camera with a light is inserted to allow the physician to see the issues clearly as they then insert a device used to pull the stomach or abdomen back into place.
Once the stomach or abdomen is pulled back into place it is stitched so that it won’t go back up into the hole again. The surgeon will work to repair the area where the hernia took place to avoid the problem from happening again. The professional will either stitch up the hole that is there or put a patch on it to keep it from being a problem. In some cases, if the muscle around the esophagus is weak the professional will also work to strengthen that muscle while working in the area. This will help things to stay in their proper place and avoid further hernias.
Like all surgical procedures, there are some risks to the process that you should be aware of before you commit to the surgery. If there is injury to your stomach, esophagus, blood vessels or nerves during the laparoscopic procedure, the physician will need to change from laparoscopic to open surgery (laparotomy) in order to fix the damage. This could then leave you open to infection or bleeding that were unexpected with the laparoscopic procedure.
Another risk when agreeing to a laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair is blood clotting. It is possible that you could have a blood clot that could cause severe pain or swelling in your arms or legs. In extreme cases the blood clot could cause important blood flow from occurring in your body. In some cases a blood clot could break loose from its location and travel to vital organs, find its way to your lungs and cause severe medical issues. These are rare instances, but are something that has to be considered when deciding if the procedure is right for you or not.
After the Surgery
Once you have had the laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair you will need to carefully follow the instructions of your surgeon. They may recommend some bed rest and you will likely be asked to start on foods that are easy for you to digest. The surgeon will talk to you about how to avoid bleeding from the wound and they will discuss follow ups to your surgery that are important to make sure that you are on track to recovery. You will be asked to report any unusual symptoms or discomfort right away to avoid potential problems. In most cases you will be back to normal in a few days and you will be able to see significant differences from the surgery within a short amount of time after the procedure.