Thoracic Surgery

Paraesohpageal Hernias

Repairing paraesophageal hernias using minimally invasive surgery

It can be alarming to learn that a portion of your stomach has slipped from its normal position into your chest, a condition known as a paraesophageal hernia. You may be worried about your treatment options and have questions about how it will affect your day-to-day life.

At Tufts Medical Center, we not only offer you an advanced surgery to repair the hernia, we also go out of our way to relieve your stress. Throughout your treatment at our Boston hospital, we will explain what is happening and what your options are every step of the way.

Our administrative staff will get you an appointment quickly so that your condition can be evaluated by our top surgeons who are leaders in the field. They will determine the extent of your condition and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

What can I expect at Tufts Medical Center?

During your first appointment, our doctors will evaluate the extent of your hernia and whether it poses a serious threat to your health. To do this, we may recommend diagnostic options like an endoscopy or barium swallow. In some rare cases, emergency surgery may be needed if the stomach becomes stuck and twisted inside the hernia.

Once we know the extent of the hernia, we will talk with you about your treatment options.

At Tufts Medical Center, experienced thoracic surgeons use minimally invasive surgery to treat hiatial and paraesophageal hernias because it effective in reducing symptoms and the amount of time you spend in recovery.

During the procedure, surgeons pull the stomach back into the position where it normally is in the body. They also close up the defect that allowed the hernia to develop in order to prevent any reoccurrence.

In most cases, you will be able to walk around the day after surgery and resume normal activity within a week. You will have some dietary restrictions just after surgery, but patients usually resume eating regular meals within two to three weeks after the procedure.

The symptoms of hiatial and paraesophageal hernias include feeling like you’ve eaten too much, shortness of breath or a vague feeling of abdominal pain. You may also experience symptoms that could be mistaken for a heart attack. Or, you may notice no symptoms at all.

Hiatal hernias typically develop later in life due to a stretching of the esophageal hiatus.  They have been associated with increased pressure in the abdomen due to pregnancy, obesity or coughing. Because the hernia is internal, you won’t feel it or see a bulge.

If you have been diagnosed with a paraesophageal hernia, you should have further evaluation to determine the extent of the condition and whether it should be treated.

When you refer your patients to us, we will work closely with you ensure continuity of care. We will coordinate with you to obtain our patients records. We will also keep you informed about the care we provide and our recommendations for follow up care.

To make an appointment to see one of our surgeons for a consultation, please call 617-636-5589.