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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all.
I've been diagnosed with a reasonably large sliding hiatus hernia whereby some of my stomach is up in my left lung region, and I've been advised that I need to undergo laparoscopic fundoplication surgery to fix the hernia. However, I'm a full-time sax player and have been told that I won't be able to play for 4-6 weeks after the surgery....which is obviously a VERY big deal for me given my occupation.

Has anyone had surgery like this and can give me an idea of how long it took before you could play sax again? I realise that everyone is different but a number of first-hand experiences would help me to get a real-world perspective.

Cheers
Gary
 

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Just a suggestion but maybe it would be a good time to get an EWI or something similar.
I’ve never had a hernia operation but at my day gig I met a gentleman who survived five gun shot wounds in a work place incident. He survived but the gunshot to his abdomen lead to him having a hernia. You do not want to take any chance of having problems with that mesh or the complications can cause a worse problem than you’ve started with.
I’d definitely follow the doc’s orders. Maybe you could ask him if he do a quick follow-up after the surgery when you think you could give it a try.
 

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I had laparoscopic surgery in late March to repair five hernias, three in my naval area and two in my groin. I went three weeks without playing the sax and I eased back into it. I picked a season that was traditionally slow for me regarding gigs. I'm happy I did the surgery, I'm not experiencing any discomfort when I blow hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies, guys. I have to admit that I'm still on the fence as to whether I'll have the surgery done. I know that I should do it but the long recovery time is putting me off.
 

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I had not heard of a sliding hiatal hernia - what are the symptoms? I had an inguinal hernia and that bothered me when playing. The doc said I could live with it but I'm glad I got it fixed. In my case he said at the first follow-up visit that I could do anything I wanted to. I know your case is different and my gut (sorry, had to) feeling would be to go along with the recommendation and not push the envelope. You don't want to go right back to the hospital on an emergency basis.
 

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My dad had a hiatal hernia operation many years ago. I think probably late 70's. They didn't do it laparoscopically back then. Went in thru a big incision. It never did him much good. He suffered horrible reflux for most of the rest of his life until the advent of Pepcid. That pill changed his life. His esophagus was so bad he had to go in to have the scar tissue expanded to open it up so he could swallow. Once Pepcid came out it really did change things for him.

I don't mean to scare you. The treatment sounds like it has advanced since then. Hope so. Best wishes. Get a second opinion maybe? I think I would.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had not heard of a sliding hiatal hernia - what are the symptoms?
I’m actually not sure (or maybe can’t remember?) why it’s called a “sliding” hiatal hernia. I’ve had it for years but only in the past 6 months decided to pursue possible repair; the public health system here in Australia is generally quite good but the wait times can be long.

From what I’ve been told and have seen on the x-rays, I have a 2 inch-diameter balloon of stomach that has squeezed up into my lung area. This causes acid reflux and a digestive bottleneck, as well as pressing on my left lung and reducing a little of that lung’s air capacity. It may also be a contributing factor with my sleep apnea.

Apart from the long recovery time, I’m also not keen on having to eat a diet of puréed food for several weeks
 

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No. But I got my gallbladder laparoscopically removed a few years ago(when 68 yo) and I felt l could play the next night, seriously; but the doc said wait a week or so.
I didn't listen to him and gigged on the fourth night after with no problem.
 

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I’m actually not sure (or maybe can’t remember?) why it’s called a “sliding” hiatal hernia. I’ve had it for years but only in the past 6 months decided to pursue possible repair; the public health system here in Australia is generally quite good but the wait times can be long.

From what I’ve been told and have seen on the x-rays, I have a 2 inch-diameter balloon of stomach that has squeezed up into my lung area. This causes acid reflux and a digestive bottleneck, as well as pressing on my left lung and reducing a little of that lung’s air capacity. It may also be a contributing factor with my sleep apnea.

Apart from the long recovery time, I’m also not keen on having to eat a diet of puréed food for several weeks
Sounds like a completely internal "tearing" of a membrane that holds and/or separates internal organs from each other??

I have a hernia above at the right top part of my stomach. I think it's stomach but it might be intestine. And sometimes I get the sensation that food gets caught up in the crook of the organ and tries to poke through my hide. So I push it back down....no pain whatsoever. This has been going on for four or five years. ..The only problem I had is I forgot to tell my doc before a coloscopy. I know it pissed him off because he was unusually rough during my NO ANESTHETIC procedure.:)
 

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I’m actually not sure (or maybe can’t remember?) why it’s called a “sliding” hiatal hernia.
It's called a "Sliding" Hiatal Hernia because it moves in and out through your diaphragm depending if you're lying down or not. I was diagnosed with this just last week. You drink barium and then they film you swallowing it. Then they lie you down and you do the same thing. You can see the top of your stomach and lower esophagus slide through the hole (hernia) in the diaphragm. It's fairly common. I ONLY get heartburn at night, During the day I'm fine. They're also going to check with the scope whether I have real damage in my lower esophagus: if it's narrowed from damage it can prevent you from swallowing - I've had 2 -3 of these episodes and it's scary. You bring up about a gallon of saliva - you can't swallow anything and you feel sick and it interferes with your breathing.

Sorry for your troubles Madddow. Please look after yourself and get it all taken care of.

SS
 

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You can google "hiatal hernia" and learn a great deal about it. The esophagus joins the stomach at the level of the left diaphragm. This must pass through a hiatus in the diaphragm. The stomach can slide up into the chest cavity known as herniation. Rarely the entire stomach can herniate. Hiatal hernias are common and typically a chronic condition and fundoplication is the usual treatment. We do not treat all of these here in the States. If they are overly symptomatic then the pt. may want surgery and the surgeon will be happy to oblige the pt. It does not sound like your condition is "life threatening " so you have some time to work through this. I would plan with your surgeon a time to do this when best for all parties. Be aware of the potential complications and benefits of the surgery.
Hiatal hernia is not to be confused with inguinal and other abdominal wall hernias. Hope this helps some and best wishes for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Guys, I really appreciate your replies. I have a lot to think about.
 

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Hi all.
I've been diagnosed with a reasonably large sliding hiatus hernia whereby some of my stomach is up in my left lung region, and I've been advised that I need to undergo laparoscopic fundoplication surgery to fix the hernia. However, I'm a full-time sax player and have been told that I won't be able to play for 4-6 weeks after the surgery....which is obviously a VERY big deal for me given my occupation.

Has anyone had surgery like this and can give me an idea of how long it took before you could play sax again? I realise that everyone is different but a number of first-hand experiences would help me to get a real-world perspective.

Cheers
Gary
I had three hernias done laparoscopy, and it did take a few weeks to be able to play again. I also had a kidney removed, so that prolonged the discomfort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had three hernias done laparoscopy, and it did take a few weeks to be able to play again. I also had a kidney removed, so that prolonged the discomfort.
Uboat, when you say that it took you a few weeks to be able to play again, was that due to pain at the surgery site, pain/discomfort with your diaphragm/air column, or were you acting on doctor’s advice?
 

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I’ve never had this kind of surgery. The surgeries I have had or family members usually takes 7 to 10 days just to get the stitches out. You’ll probably have three or four and I’m assuming two locations. Count on at least another week or two for healing progress so you don’t damage yourself. I know absolutely nothing about the surgery but most repair surgery the pain is gone relatively quick(days). I would count on being sore for a while. If you get lucky and you’re not at least you have accommodated for the time to get better.
Talk to the people you have been working for. Maybe they will let you get by with the DJ part only. Ask for help handling your gear.
This is your body. Take care of it. You need to use it hopefully for a very long time.
Best to feeling better.
PS
 

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Thanks for the replies, guys. I have to admit that I'm still on the fence as to whether I'll have the surgery done. I know that I should do it but the long recovery time is putting me off.
YOU need to have this done, procrastination could very well be a much, much longer time away from playing. I've never had a hernia removed but did have my gallbladder removed in '07. Long story short...a little voice inside my head told me not to wait from springtime to fall to have this done. So I had it done in the spring. Turns out the gall bladder was "rotten" and had several stones inside it. At that time my work involved a lot of flying across the country. Doc told me I was lucky to have made the decision to have it done when I did, if I had an attack while flying chances of me getting to a hospital would have been ZERO. "Don't mean to scare you".. but I hope I am!! All the best and do let us know how things go for you. Go for the short term pain for the long term gain!! ;)
 

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Hi all.
I've been diagnosed with a reasonably large sliding hiatus hernia whereby some of my stomach is up in my left lung region, and I've been advised that I need to undergo laparoscopic fundoplication surgery to fix the hernia. However, I'm a full-time sax player and have been told that I won't be able to play for 4-6 weeks after the surgery....which is obviously a VERY big deal for me given my occupation.

Has anyone had surgery like this and can give me an idea of how long it took before you could play sax again? I realise that everyone is different but a number of first-hand experiences would help me to get a real-world perspective.

Cheers
Gary
Yes, i had exactly this surgery for a hiatul hernia and at the same time, a gastric sleeve surgery to remove 80% of my stomach organ. Both surgeries done at the same time, laparoscopic surgery. I play bari, tenor and alto. After viewing my sax videos my surgeon said not to kay sax for 6 weeks. I followed his advice and all was and is fine 2 years later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just thought I'd give an update to this thread:

I had the surgery on 12 Nov last year and did my first gigs 6 weeks later. I felt absolutely shocking after gigs for more than 2 months i.e. unbelievable nausea....but I can no longer throw up after the surgery, so I'd just be dry-heaving on stage and off-stage. However, from about mid-January the nausea continued nearly 24/7 and I ended up needing further X-rays, scans and having to take anti-nausea medication 3 times daily; I also have extra strong anti-nausea medication (used by chemotherapy patients) in case I need it at gigs.

I finally managed to get an appointment to see the surgeon in mid-February and the upshot is that I need to have the surgery performed again on 31 March...meaning another 6-week recuperation period and cancelled gigs. According to the scans, my oesophagus now has a "kink" near the bottom and solids/liquids are getting stuck, causing the nausea. Oh, and the acid reflux (one of the reasons I needed the surgery in the first place) is back and worse than ever.

I wish I'd never had this bloody surgery in the first place. To anyone reading this who might be considering oesophageal surgery: think twice (and then another few times) before having it done. You might end up in a worse place than before.
 
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