A paraesophageal hernia is also known as a hiatal hernia, where a portion of the stomach slides through the diaphragm and into the chest. This may cause symptoms of pain, heartburn, reflux, and difficulty swallowing food. Sometimes it causes food or even liquids to become "stuck" as they go down the esophagus.
Surgery is usually recommended for paraesophageal hernias and hiatal hernias of the diaphragm that cause symptoms. Surgery is usually performed laparoscopically and patients are admitted for 1 day after surgery. The surgery involves fixing the hernia and using the stomach to prevent further reflux into the esophagus. The results of surgery tend to be very good, with most patients having significant improvement in their symptoms afterward. Surgery is best performed by experts who have significant experience with these and other esophageal operations.