Dr. Clifton Thomas

Hiatal Hernia Surgery

What You Need to Know About Hiatal Hernia Surgery

Are you struggling with heartburn or acid reflux? Have you tried everything to alleviate the symptoms? Hiatal Hernia Surgery is a possibility to stop heartburn and acid reflux without having to take heartburn medications. If you are considering hernia surgery or your regular physician has recommended it, we hope you will consider contacting the office of Clifton Thomas, M.D in Harris County, TX. Dr. Thomas has a plethora of education and experience on different types of hernia surgery and will do everything possible to make sure your surgery goes smoothly. However, before committing to surgery, you should learn everything you can about having a hiatal hernia and what options are available for treatment. A hiatal hernia is common in those who are overweight, so you should try a change in diet and exercise regimen before pursuing surgery. However, every patient is different, and it is important that you find a treatment that is suitable for you. Dr. Thomas is happy to help you learn about hiatal hernia treatment and what is the best route for you.

Hiatal Hernia and Different Treatments​

A hiatal hernia is when a part of the stomach moves upward into your chest through an opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that is intended to separate the stomach from the chest. This opening is called the hiatus, which is why this condition is also called a hiatus hernia. This condition can happen to anyone, but it is very common in people who are over 50, pregnant, or overweight. If the condition is not causing you any problems, you will probably not need to seek treatment. Some symptoms of a hiatal hernia are painful heartburn, vomiting small amounts of food or bitter-tasting fluids, bad breath, burping, feeling bloated, difficulty or pain when swallowing, frequent vomiting, blood in your vomit, pain in your stomach, or general illness that cannot be attributed to another cause. A hiatal hernia can be diagnosed with an x-ray of your upper digestive system, an upper endoscopy (the doctor examines the esophagus and stomach with a thin tube with a light and camera inserted down the throat), or an esophageal manometry (measuring the rhythmic muscle contractions in your esophagus when you swallow). Some treatments for this condition are changing your eating habits, quitting smoking (if you are a smoker), or medication. If none of the medications or lifestyle changes have helped, you are ready to investigate surgery. Hiatal hernia surgery is when the doctor fixes the hiatal hernia by pulling your stomach back into the abdomen and making the opening in the diaphragm (the hiatus) smaller. In addition to having plenty of experience with hiatal hernia surgery, Dr. Clifton Thomas is also an expert in surgery to repair gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD refers to a condition when liquids from the stomach flow back into the esophagus, causing heartburn or pain in the upper chest. Dr. Thomas is very experienced in Nissen fundoplication surgery, a procedure where the surgeon creates a sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus which will prevent fluids from backing up in the esophagus. Finally, after having hernia surgery, you can typically expect to go home in 2 to 3 days, return to work in 3 to 6 weeks, being able to eat what you want in 6 weeks, and recovering from other side effects such as bloating, burping, farting, and difficulty swallowing in a few months.

About Clifton Thomas, M.D. and Why You Should Choose Him

Dr. Clifton Thomas is a board-certified General Surgeon who was the first to complete a fellowship in Bariatric Surgery at Southwestern Medical School. He began his career as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Marshall University in West Virginia. He then started working at a private practice focusing on laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgery. Dr. Thomas is also a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and was one of the first surgeons in Houston to receive their Center for Excellence designation. The ASMBS is the largest non-profit medical organization dedicated to metabolic and bariatric surgery, as well as obesity related problems and conditions and their treatments. He has also written two books on weight loss, appears in several shows and documentaries, and hosts a podcast on healthy eating. Dr. Thomas also has extensive experience in the specialized field of hernia surgery. He has 21 years of experience as a Bariatric Weight loss Surgeon, 29 years of experience as a hiatal hernia surgeon in Harris County, for heartburn and reflux. He has also made substantial contributions to the field of gastrointestinal surgery, and 35 years solving gastrointestinal issues.

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Dr. Thomas is a pioneer of the Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication for GERD, a minimally invasive procedure to reduce the symptoms of heartburn. During this surgery, a surgeon will create a sphincter (a tightening muscle) at the base of the throat to prevent liquid from coming up into the esophagus. Beyond his extensive education, qualifications, and experience, Dr. Thomas is committed to helping his patients improve their quality of life and will be continuously involved with their recovery and post-op diets.

Other Resources for Those Suffering from Hernia Symptoms

Dr. Thomas offers a variety of services and products to those who have heartburn, acid reflux, and obesity. His current podcast entitled “Change Your Eating” is available on his website and he will soon be offering a course under the same title. He also has a store selling supplements for those who are trying to add nutrients into their diets, either to avoid surgery or as part of a post-op diet. There is a large collection of videos available on the website where Dr. Thomas discusses different aspects of the surgeries and other medical treatments that he offers, including bariatric surgery and reflux surgery. He covers topics such as who qualifies for surgery, what reflux and hiatal hernia are, and a detailed description of the Nissen Fundoplication surgery. If there are any other questions you have that are not covered in the videos, you are more than welcome to schedule an appointment to discuss any queries you may have!

Making an Appointment

If you are considering hiatal hernia surgery or are wondering if it is right for you, give us a call today or schedule an appointment online. In person visits are virtual appointments are available; we recommend you begin with a virtual visit and follow up with an in person one. Depending on availability, you may be able to schedule a same day online appointment and get your questions about hernia surgery answered almost immediately. If you are concerned about the risks of undergoing surgery and want to discuss the pros and cons, we are happy to help. Any surgery includes risks of complications; however, there is a relatively small risk (1 in 100) that the side effects will not go away after hernia surgery, and you will need more surgery. As Dr. Clifton Thomas is an expert in Nissen fundoplication surgery, which is a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, there are considerably less risks than an open surgery. Dr. Thomas has five offices in the greater Houston area, with the office at the Houston Galleria being his primary location. Get in touch with us today, and Dr. Thomas will share his expertise to help you decide and the best treatment plan for you.