How to Recover From Hiatal Hernia Repair

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Hiatal hernia repair is a surgical procedure performed to correct an overly large opening in the diaphragm. Repair of this type of hernia is necessary to prevent the contents of the abdomen from bulging into the chest, a problem that can cause not only heartburn, but also esophagus damage. There are two types of surgery for correcting this problem: open hiatal hernia repair and laparoscopy. Recovery times are different for each procedure.

Recover From Laparoscopic Surgery for Hiatal Hernia Repair

Spend 1 to 3 days in the hospital following laparoscopic surgery.

Stay away from gassy foods after your surgery. For example, you'll want to avoid broccoli.

Eat frequently after your surgery, but keep meals small.

Resume most of your normal activities about 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

Return to work about 2 to 3 weeks after your hiatal hernia repair surgery.

Put off heavy lifting and very strenuous labor until at least 3 months have passed.

Recover From Open Surgery for Hiatal Hernia Repair

Recover in the hospital for about 2 to 6 days after open surgery for a hiatal hernia.

Alter your diet to make recovery easier by avoiding gassy foods and consuming small meals on a frequent basis.

Go back to work 4 to 6 weeks after open surgery.

Avoid heavy lifting for about 90 days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Laparoscopic surgery is often preferred over open surgery for hiatal hernia repairs. Typically, recovery is shorter and less painful with this surgical method. Ask your doctor which procedure is right for you, and expect that his answer will be influenced both by his experience with either procedure and your unique medical history.
  • After surgery, you may have a nasogastric tube in your stomach, which was placed there through your nose and throat. This tube is put in place during surgery and some surgeons leave it in for a few days following the procedure.
  • No matter which type of surgery you choose to repair your hiatal hernia, you can expect some pain following the procedure. However, your doctor will likely prescribe medications for the management of your discomfort.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have severe pain that you cannot manage with the medications prescribed for you.
  • Seek medical attention if you experience persistent vomiting during the recovery period. You'll also want to contact your doctor if you have persistent dry heaves.
  • Inform your doctor right away if your wound is abnormally red or you develop a fever. These symptoms may indicate an infection, which should be treated immediately.

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