Giant Paraesophageal Hernia

UPMC Content 3

People with giant paraesophageal hernias can experience several debilitating symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Pain in the upper middle section of the abdomen (epigastric pain)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Vomiting
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)

Tests for Diagnosing Giant Paraesophageal Hernias

Doctors typically order the following tests and evaluations to diagnose giant paraesophageal hernias:

  • Barium esophagography — provides an anatomic road for evaluating your paraesophageal hernia.
  • Upper endoscopy — examines the esophageal mucosa and helps identify conditions that may mimic giant paraesophageal hernias.
  • 24-hour esophageal pH studymonitors the levels and changes of acid content in the esophagus, over a 24-hour period
  • Esophageal manometry — studies the pressure inside the esophagus.

Treating Giant Paraesophageal Hernias

UPMC thoracic surgeons have extensive experience in minimally invasive surgery for treating giant paraesophageal hernia.

Our volumes and success rates with this procedure are among some of the highest in the nation, and have been documented by research published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Goals and benefits of surgery

The goal of the surgery is to repair the giant paraesophageal hernia using a laparoscopic technique similar to that used for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Advantages of using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical techniques for giant paraesophageal hernias include reducing:

  • Postoperative pain
  • Perioperative complications
  • Recovery time