A small hiatal hernia may be effectively managed with over-the-counter medications or go undetected altogether because there are no symptoms. Large hiatal hernias, however, may lead to complications such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer.
Jefferson gastroenterologists (physicians who specialize in the digestive system and its disorders) have the necessary expertise to accurately diagnose and effectively treat even the most severe hiatal hernia and its complications. Your medical team will work with you to devise a personalized treatment plan to manage your condition through a multifaceted approach that may include medication therapy, dietary changes or surgery. Our highly experienced thoracic surgeons can repair even large hiatal hernias with minimally invasive techniques. The laparoscopic repair allows relief of symptoms and early return to usual activities.
Our physicians are also among the most experienced in the Philadelphia region in performing the latest endoscopic procedures for the treatment of GERD, if you should develop complications. Jefferson was the first hospital in Philadelphia to offer an advanced surgical treatment for long-term elimination of GERD that requires no incisions, called endoluminal fundoplication (ELF). Prior to this type of surgery, patients would either have to take daily medication to suppress stomach acid or undergo open surgery of the stomach and esophagus to reduce symptoms. ELF can potentially eliminate the need to take medication to control GERD.
Jefferson's Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Unit is one of the busiest academic endoscopy units on the East Coast. At our state-of-the-art endoscopy suite, Jefferson physicians perform more than 13,000 endoscopic procedures each year.