open surgery verses lap

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 7/28/2012 8:28 AM (GMT -6)   
I met with a thoracic surgeon at our leading hospital in Michigan for a type 4 paraesophageal hernia (entire stomach and part of colon in diaphragm). He said he only does open surgery and not laproscopically. I am worried about so many things, but now worried about being cut open and having to recover from the 8" incision. So many on here seemed to have had this procedure done with lap. Has anyone had an open surgery for paraesophageal hernia? How was your recovery?

Thanks, Deb

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 7/28/2012 11:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Deb,
I wrote on your other thread some of my thoughts about laproscopic vs open procedures.  Generally what surgeons say is that they'll attempt the procedure laproscopically, but there is always a chance it will be switched to open.  I don't think there is a surgeon out there who can promise a laproscopic procedure without the possibility of an open procedure.
Your extensive hernia situation is something I wasn't aware of in my other post.  If you find that the most experience and skilled Nissen surgeon recommends open, I'd go with open.
Bill, a moderator here who hasn't been around much lately, has had the procedure both laproscopically and open, and really didn't find the open procedure much different in recovery.  Obviously it will require a longer hospital stay, but I can tell you that he was pleasantly surprised with the open procedure.  His comments were very comforting to anyone anticipating the possiblity of an open procedure.  His handle is opnwhl4, and if you go to his profile you can find his email address.  Also, you could look for other posts he's written by searching his name in the upper right hand corner of the page.
Good luck with your decision!
Best wishes,
Words of wisdom by Eckhart Tolle:
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 7/28/2012 4:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my giant paraesophageal done laproscopically at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh. They are the tops in this area with thousands, including loads of GPEH, nearly all laps for years. My stomach was half in my chest and I could feel it trying to roll and strangulate. It took a lot of testing, but you should be able to get that done close to home. The surgeons look at the results, not do testing themselves.

I would keep looking, not accept open except if they get in there and find there are problems way too bad to handle lap. You always have to agree to have it converted like that.

I'm sure there are other places. Have you checked into Cleveland Clinic?

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 7/28/2012 10:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Deb,
Of course if you can find a highly qualified Nissen surgeon who thinks laproscopic surgery is the way to should definitely go that route.  As Alcie said, every lap surgeon always maintains the possibility that the surgery could be converted to open. 
With all your stomach and part of your colon in your chest it might be so extensive that open surgery is more likely.  I must admit that it's the largest hernia I've run across in my participation with this forum!
Good luck finding a surgeon you feel comfortable with!
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