Hiatal Hernia Surgery Cost


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

A hiatal hernia is a condition wherein the stomach will extend up through the diaphragm and into the chest, often causing either severe acid reflux or GERD symptoms.  While these symptoms can often be remedied via medications, for some, surgery may be the only option.

The surgical process is designed to help pull your stomach back into the abdomen, making the opening in the diaphragm smaller, and depending on your circumstances, the surgery may also reconstruct the esophageal sphincter or remove the hernial sacs.

Not recommended for everyone, there’s a good chance your doctor will only recommend it as a last resort after you tried all other treatment options.

Hiatal Hernia Surgery Cost
CPMC Surgery” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by crucially

How much does hiatal hernia surgery cost?

The cost of hiatal hernia surgery greatly depends on your geographical location, the surgeon, your health insurance policy, the type of surgery performed and the inclusions in the bill.  For a surgery with no complications, the costs can often range from $4,000 to $8,500 without health insurance, but for those with health insurance, the procedure, as long as medically necessary, will be covered, leaving you responsible for only your co-pays and meeting your deductible.  This price, like any surgical procedure, could greatly increase if any complications were to occur during the surgery or for those who are considered obese as the procedure would take longer than average when in comparison to an average weight patient.

This fee mentioned, at most surgical centers, should include the surgery center fees, operating room time, all materials required for recovery and the anesthesiologist, but it often not include the pre-operative testing (blood work, x-rays, etc) and the follow-up appointments after.

Healthline.com, in its hiatal hernia surgery overview article, claimed the average surgery without complications in the United States should cost about $5,000 without any insurance.

According to the California Hernia Specialists, they state they work closely with uninsured patients and often bill a total of $3,985, which would include $1,500 for the surgeon fees, another $2,000 for the surgery center fees and lastly, $485 for the anesthesiologist fees.  The only other charges you may occur, as per the website, could include the pre-operative blood work, the EKG and the pain medications required after the procedure.

Hiatal hernia surgical process

The surgery can be performed via three popular methods:  via an open repair, laparoscopic repair or via an endoluminal fundoplication.  Regardless of which option, all require general anesthesia and can take anywhere from two to three hours to perform.

Endoluminal fundoplication:  The newest out of the three mentioned here, this is considered to be the least invasive option as no incisions are made; rather, the surgeon inserts an endoscope with a lighted camera at the end through your mouth and down into the esophagus in order to clip the point where the stomach meets the esophagus.  These clips are designed to then help prevent any acid and/or food from backing back into the stomach.

Laparoscopic repair:  Less invasive as an open surgery, the surgeon, during the procedure, will create three to five tiny incision in the abdomen in order to insert surgical instruments.  As inserted, these instruments are guided by a laparoscope, which is designed to transmit images of the internal organs onto a nearby monitor for your doctor to watch as he or she pulls your stomach back into the abdominal cavity where it naturally should be.  Next, they will then wrap the upper portion of the stomach around the lower part of the esophagus, designed to create a tighter sphincter to prevent reflux from reoccurring in the future.

Open repair:  The most invasive option on the list, an open repair surgical procedure requires one large incision across the abdomen in order to pull back the stomach and place it back into its natural position.  This, just like the laparoscopic repair, will create a tighter sphincter, but unlike the other procedures mentioned, a tube may need to be inserted for a few weeks after the procedure to keep the stomach in place as you heal.

Recovery

After your surgical procedure, your doctor will provide you with detailed notes, which, as a patient, you should follow exactly as instructed.  This includes reporting any unwanted side effects, taking all of your medication at the designated times and keeping your incisions clean with soap and water.  Your doctor will ask that you avoid pools of water and stick to a restricted diet, about six small meals a day instead of a few larger ones, to keep your stomach from extending.  Most start with a liquid-based diet and will gradually move onto softer foods until the entire recovery process is complete.

A full recovery process can take anywhere from eight to 12+ weeks as long as instructions are closely followed.  For most, be prepared to resume normal activities around the three-month anniversary date or lighter activities around the eight-week mark.

Complications after hiatal hernia surgery

Potential problems, as per the University of North Carolina Department of Surgery, could include minimal pain after the surgery, such as a sore abdomen and/or near the incision sites, but this often subsides a few days after and will disappear on its own.  In the meantime, patients are encouraged to take pain medication to help with the pain.

Another complication, according to the UNC, can include constipation, a difficult time swallowing, an infection near the operation site and/or a wound infection on the surface.

Tips to know

The Cleveland Clinic notes the surgery has a 90 percent success rate.

Causes of a hiatal hernia is often due to pressure in the abdominal cavity, which can come from vomiting, straining due to a bowel movement, heavy lifting and/or physical strain, to name a few.  It can also come from extra fluid in the abdomen, obesity or a pregnancy.

There are two types of hiatal hernias:  a sliding, which is the most common type that occurs when your stomach and esophagus slide into and out of the chest, and a fixed, which isn’t as common, and is when a part of your stomach pushes its way through the diaphragm and stays there.


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