Do You Need Acid Reflux Surgery?

Acid reflux surgery is done to repair the root cause of acid reflux: a weak stomach valve

Nissen Fundoplication. What's That? 

The procedure is called a "Nissen Fundoplication". Your doctor pulls your stomach down and restores structural support for your stomach valve. The goal is to repair the valve-mechanism that lets food enter your stomach, but prevents acid to escape.

  • The upper part of your stomach (fundus) is wrapped around the esophagus.
  • By doing so, your weak lower esophageal muscle gets more support. With the help of this wrap, your LES can seal off your stomach again.

Two options to reach your stomach:

  • The first is open surgery. Your surgeon makes an incision in your abdomen or your chest. The opening gives direct access to your stomach.
  • The second method is laparascopic surgery. By using a small tube with a camera and light, your surgeon can operate with a small incision. This is better, since small incisions take less time to heal. You will have less pain and a shorter recovery time.

What If You Have A Hiatal Hernia?

If you have a hiatal hernia, which is an upward bulging of your stomach, your surgeon pulls it back down. He wraps the upper part of your stomach around your esophagus to prevent it from popping back into your chest.

When Do You Need Surgery?

In most cases, surgery is the last choice of treatment. If other options such as acid reflux remediesmedications and life style changes don't prove to be successful, you can consider acid reflux surgery.

Some surgeons claim that surgery can be a first choice of treatment, because it prevents you from taking pills for the rest of your life. 

What Do Statistics Say?

Numbers show that patients improve with acid reflux surgery:

  • Research shows that out of 10 people, 8 are better after a fundoplication.
  • After 7 years, 4 out of ten were back on medicines or needed another operation. 

Acid reflux is caused by a weak stomach valve ànd overpressure in your intestines.  Surgery can become completely effective if you change your diet to stop small intestine bacterial overgrowth.

Risks Of Acid Reflux Surgery

Surgery always includes a certain risk and no matter how good your surgeon is, you never have a 100 percent guarantee of success. 

  • As with any major surgery, there are general risks such as infection and bleeding.
  • The risks of anesthesia include breathing problems, heart problems or reactions to medication.
  • Failure: the esophagus slides back out of its wrap. Your LES gets no support anymore and acid reflux comes back.
  • Appearance of new symptoms such as the inability to belch, increased flatulence or swalling difficulties.

You can consider an operation if you have severe acid reflux after trying all remedies for acid reflux. 

Did you have surgery? Are you Satisfied with the result?

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References: Lundell L, et al. (2007). Seven-year follow-up of a randomized clinical trial comparing proton-pump inhibition with surgical therapy for reflux oesophagitis. British Journal of Surgery, 94(2): 198-203.

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