hernia, hiatal

The esophagus must penetrate the diaphragm through a hole (the hiatus) to reach the stomach. Hiatal hernia refers to a condition in which a portion of the upper stomach (the gastroesophageal junction) slides up (herniates) through this hole. The herniation may consist solely of the stomach or sometimes a small portion of the stomach may slide up beside the esophagus (a paraesophageal hernia). This condition is usually associated with gastroesophageal reflux. Treatment of hiatal hernia is directed at the reflux; surgical correction (fundoplication) may be necessary.

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