Surgical Treatment for Reflux Disease
Medical treatment and lifestyle changes reduce the severity of symptoms of acid reflux, but do so without addressing the underlying issue. Surgical treatment is currently the only solution for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that corrects the cause of reflux and offers long–term resolution of symptoms.
Surgical treatment is used to address:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Hiatal Hernia, which causes severe heartburn and reflux
Who is Surgery for?
Anti-reflux surgery is recommended for anyone suffering from chronic, frequent and severe reflux. Those who have developed health concerns as a result of acid reflux are often prime candidates for surgery.
You may wish to consider anti-reflux surgery if:
- You have gastroesophageal reflux disease and you have not responded well to medication.
- Your acid reflux responds to medication, but you do not like the prospect of taking medication indefinitely.
- You have a hiatal hernia.
- Frequent acid reflux has caused secondary health concerns, such as inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus, esophageal ulcers or bleeding.
- Chronic reflux has resulted in asthma, hoarseness of voice or a continuing cough
Types of Anti-Reflux Surgery
When it comes to choosing a form of anti-reflux surgery there are a collection of options, including minimally and non-invasive procedures.
Minimally invasive or laparoscopic procedures are completed through three to five minor incisions in the abdomen. Dr. Bagnato also offers non-invasive or incisionless procedures which are completed through the nose and throat.
These minimally and non-invasive procedures offer several benefits over traditional open procedures:
- Reduced scarring
- Minimized post-operative pain
- Reduced risk of post-surgical complications
- Faster recovery period
The best-suited surgical option for you will depend on the cause of your acid reflux. The two most common causes of reflux disease are a faulty sphincter and hiatal hernia.
Reflux disease is often caused by a faulty valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When functional, this valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to permit food to pass to the stomach and then shuts to prevent digestive juices from entering the esophagus.
If the valve is unable to close tightly, acid is able to escape from the stomach where it irritates the lining of the esophagus and causes inflammation.
Anti-reflux surgery provides the LES with structural support, reducing the frequency of reflux by allowing the valve to shut efficiently once again.
Surgical options include:
- Nissen fundoplication
- Hill posterior Gastropexy
- EsophyX incisionless surgery
Hiatal Hernia Repair
In some cases, severe acid reflux develops as a result of a hiatal hernia, in which the upper portion of the stomach pushes through a gap in the diaphragm, allowing stomach acid to flow freely into the esophagus.
During surgical hernia repair, the stomach is pushed back into place and the size of the hole (esophageal hiatus) in the diaphragm is reduced to prevent the stomach from protruding through the muscle and tissue of the diaphragm again.
In most cases, acid reflux surgery is an outpatient procedure that is completed in less than 30 minutes. Approximately 80 percent of people who have anti-reflux surgery report ongoing relief from heartburn as long as 10 years after their surgical date.