The hiatus is the hole in the diaphragm where the esophagus pass into the abdomen to join the stomach. If the hiatus is too large then acid from the stomach floods up the esophagus causing burning of the esophagus. This is a called a sliding hiatal hernia and they are very common. Another type of hiatal hernia which is rare is called a paraesophageal hernia.
Most are treated medically. That is, with medication, with cessation of tobacco and alcohol and with weight reduction.
When medical treatment fails, when Barrett's esophageal changes are present or when it is a paraesophageal hiatal hernia.
The surgery for a hiatal hernia is called a Nissan Fundoplication. It is a procedure that tightens the opening of the esophagus into the stomach. It may be done minimally invasively by laparoscopic technique. Surgery for hiatal hernia requires hospitalization.
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"Milan—Chronic groin pain after hernia surgery is now considered the most important issue facing inguinal hernia surgeons and their patients. Yet, there is still much uncertainty surrounding what causes the pain and how to prevent it." - Victoria Stern, General Surgery News