Surgical Treatment for Acid Reflux Disease
Reflux surgery treats GERD by correcting the physical malfunction allowing acid to escape into the esophagus.
Surgical treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease is only recommended when other forms of treatment, including lifestyle changes, diet and medication have all been unsuccessful.
Many patients do benefit from non-surgical reflux treatments, so only about 5% of GERD patients require surgical intervention.
Reflux surgery is often recommended when:
- GERD reoccurs after previous medical treatment
- Complications or side effects develop as a result of GERD medications
- The LES muscle is damaged or not working adequately
- Esophageal cancer has developed
In situations of Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal stricture, ulcers or bleeding, or when a hiatal hernia has developed, reflux surgery may be recommended over medicinal treatment. In certain situations, surgery may be looked at as an alternative to long-term drug treatment, as well.
The Goal of Reflux Surgery
The goal of surgery is to improve the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and correct any structural abnormalities that may be the underlying cause of GERD, such as a hiatal hernia. Where possible, Dr. Bagnato uses laparoscopic or transoral procedures when surgical treatment of GERD is indicated.
The benefits of using minimally and non-invasive surgery techniques include:
- Faster recovery
- Minimal or no scarring
- Less pain
- Shorter amounts of time in the hospital
- Expedited return to normal activity
Types of Surgery for GERD
The laparoscopic and endoscopic techniques reduce many of the risks associated with traditional forms of surgical treatment. Surgical intervention is generally only recommended as a last resort for acid reflux treatment.
The most frequent type of GERD surgery, the fundoplication is also sometimes referred to as a stomach wrap. During this procedure, the top portion of the stomach, which is called the fundus, is wrapped around the lower portion of the esophagus. This creates an artificial valve that prevents stomach contents from flowing back up into the esophagus.
There are two types of fundoplication procedures:
- Nissen fundoplication
- Hill Posterior Gastropexy
Non-invasive, incisionless treatment is now a surgical treatment option for GERD. The Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure uses the EsophyX tool to repair the weakened valve that is permitting acid to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. This is done by folding tissue at the top of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) valve, thereby preventing the reoccurrence of acid reflux.
Unlike other forms of surgery, the TIF procedure is performed through the mouth (transoral). This reduces much of the risk associated with surgical treatment and provides for an even faster recovery period.
The surgical treatment of GERD is highly effective, reducing or eliminating symptoms of GERD including heartburn and acid reflux in almost 90% of cases.
For more information about reflux surgery, contact us to schedule an appointment.