Acid reflux is a condition in which food and gastric fluids are pushed back into the esophagus from the stomach, generating heartburn and discomfort. When the symptoms of acid reflux occur on a chronic basis (usually two or more times per week), a patient may be diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Left untreated, frequent acid reflux can lead to other complications, including nausea, vomiting, tooth erosion, bad breath, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. Surgery for acid reflux is available and can help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of GERD-related complications in individuals for whom more conservative treatments have been unsuccessful.
Did you know approximately 1 in 5 Americans experience have some degree of gastroesophageal reflux disease?
Most experience the symptoms on a weekly basis or more often. Though anyone of any age can develop the disease, people who are obese or overweight are at the highest risk of experiencing acid reflux.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of surgery is available to treat GERD?
Acid reflux surgery is a procedure designed to reinforce the valve between the stomach and the esophagus. A portion of the stomach is wrapped around the bottom of the esophagus, strengthening the valve and preventing stomach contents from escaping into the esophagus. This procedure – known as fundoplication – can be administered laparoscopically, requiring only a few tiny incisions in the abdominal wall. This results in less post-operative pain, a faster recovery and a lower risk of post-surgical complications.
Another type of minimally invasive surgery is also approved by the FDA for the treatment of acid reflux. It involves the placement of a small magnetic implant made of titanium that is wrapped around the base of the esophagus to produce a synthetic barrier between the stomach and esophagus.
Who is a candidate for acid reflux surgery
You may be a candidate for antireflux surgery if you have undergone previous, less-invasive treatments for acid reflux without achieving relief from symptoms. Some patients may also qualify for the procedure if they wish to avoid taking acid suppression medications for the rest of their lives.
How long does it take to recover from acid reflux surgery?
Most acid reflux surgeries are inpatient procedures that require hospitalization and monitoring for a couple of days following the procedure. During this time, patients are monitored for digestive health and hydration. In the initial weeks following surgery, it will be necessary to follow a specialized diet, beginning with soft, pureed foods and progressing to solid foods over time.
Following the recovery period, most patients report long-lasting success from acid reflux surgery, with high satisfaction rates and a reduction of symptoms 5 to 10 years after the procedure.