Known commonly as heartburn, GERD is not only uncomfortable, it is a risk factor for a number of serious illnesses including esophageal cancer and is often associated with obesity. This is one of the most common problems impacting both the digestive and the respiratory system. Much more seriously, however, GERD can also be a risk factor for a number of severe health problems, including esophageal cancer. Also, in some cases the symptoms themselves can go beyond occasional chest pain and discomfort and can include difficulty swallowing, persistent hoarseness or sore throat, dental problems, choking sensations, and even recurrent pneumonia. GERD is often related to a hiatal hernia, in which a portion of the stomach bulges through the diaphragm, causing acid to enter the esophagus.
Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S. has been performing hiatal hernia repairs for many years and has helped countless patients by relieving the pain, stress and long-term health risks associated with GERD. This procedure is designed to keep the outer portions of the stomach and the diaphragm from coming into contact. It may be especially advisable for patients who are not experiencing relief from medications or who may have reason to want to avoid these drugs.
Like a great many modern procedures, a hiatal hernia repair is typically performed with the use of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. In this type of procedure, the use of a highly miniaturized camera and advanced miniature instruments allows for a minimum number of extremely small incisions to correct the hiatal hernia. When executed by a highly skilled and experienced surgeon like Dr. Feiz, the procedure has a consistent record of success.
Many cases of GERD and hiatal hernia are directly related to obesity. In cases where patients have severe obesity, it may make sense to obtain both a weight loss procedure and a hiatal hernia repair at the same time. As one of Southern California’s best known and most respected board certified bariatric surgeons, Dr. Feiz has often performed procedures such as a sleeve gastrectomy in combination with a hiatal hernia repair.
While it is always advisable for patients to control their weight on their own when possible, as most of us know, losing weight and keeping it off can be an extremely difficult task, and it’s all that much harder for people with more severe weight problems. A patient who has a BMI (body mass index) of 40 or over, or 35 and over with weight related health problems, including GERD, may qualify for a procedure.
The only way to find out whether you are a candidate for a hiatal hernia and/or a weight loss procedure is through a consultation with a qualified physician. Dr. Feiz is happy to meet with anyone suffering from persistent GERD and/or severe obesity. To get started, please call us at the number on this page or reach out to us via e-mail via our contact page.