When Is Surgery Needed For Acid Reflux?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that affects about 20 percent of people in the US. GERD affects the lower esophageal sphincter connecting to the stomach. When GERD becomes resistant to traditional treatment methods, laparoscopic antireflux surgery may be recommended.
In many cases, GERD can be managed with a variety of over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes. Patients take medications to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. Other people may choose to eat less to reduce the symptoms. Avoiding acidic foods and quitting smoking and drinking can also improve results.
How to manage GERD at night?
Some people experience most of the acid reflux symptoms when lying down. Ideally, patients should avoid lying down for at least 2-3 hours after eating. For a better night’s sleep, patients should elevate the head of the bed 6 inches. Elevation can reduce acid reflux, which can affect sleep patterns.
When is laparoscopic antireflux surgery needed?
Conventional treatment can minimize the discomfort associated with GERD symptoms. For severe and chronic cases of acid reflux, surgery may relieve the symptoms. Untreated GERD can lead to severe complications, including esophagitis, bleeding, esophageal ulcers, and scarring of the esophagus.
What is laparoscopic antireflux surgery?
Also known as Nissen fundoplication, this GERD treatment is only used when medicine alone is not helpful. Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is a minimally invasive procedure with faster recovery times than traditional surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach, known as the fundus, around the lower part of the esophagus to strengthen the connecting valve.
Who’s a good candidate for surgery?
Laparoscopic antireflux surgery can be recommended to patients who haven’t had prior abdominal surgery. Patients with small hiatal hernias, or hernias involving the stomach bulging into the chest cavity, are also good candidates. Patients who experience acid reflux mainly when lying down should also consider laparoscopic antireflux surgery.
Managing GERD symptoms
Several different factors can worsen GERD. Luckily, patients can use many home remedies and medications to keep the symptoms under control. Managing GERD early can help prevent the need for surgery. If surgery is needed, patients should consult a specialist to prescribe an appropriate type of GERD surgery.