GERD Surgery

Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (Gerd) is a symptom affecting millions of people across the globe. If you have experienced the sour liquid from your stomach bumping back into your mouth, you may be one of them. After a meal, the gases occluded in the stomach escape through the mouth and this process is termed as burp. The acidic liquid should not reflux into the esophagus.{mosgoogle right}If this is the starting stage of the Gerd symptom, you can use non prescription medicines which are antacids like Maalox, Tums, Mylanta and Gaviscon. Gaviscon creates foaming action covering the contents of the stomach and prevents reflux into the esophagus. Antacids are hydroxides and bi-carbonates of calcium, aluminum and magnesium. Side effects due to these medicines are diarrhea or constipation. Histamine-2 blockers are helpful in reducing the acidity in the stomach. These Gerd medicines relieve the burning sensation in the abdomen and lower chest. The bloated feelings are also cured.

A physician at the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has made a thorough study on the results of Gerd surgery. He strongly feels that anti-reflux surgery has no better effect on the severe Gerd symptom than the antacid medications. Dr. Stuart Spechler, Chief of gastroenterology in the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center followed up case history of many patients who were on Gerd medications for the last 10 years. He compared them with those who got operated for the disease.  The inference was that more patients were satisfied with the respective treatments. Some patients who underwent Gerd surgery were also continuing anti-reflux medications habitually.

Gerd happens when a valve at the end of the esophagus joining the stomach dysfunctions, allowing the reflux of the stomach acid into the esophagus. This creates irritation of the throat, heartburn and induces regular coughing. Intake of sedatives, aggravate the severity of Gerd symptom by impairing the function of esophagus muscles. Narcotics have similar effect as those of sedatives. On getting more severe, the lining of the esophagus get damaged to cause ulcer and finally the cancer. A surgical procedure is a must for repairing the valve. Prescription medication from the doctor can be useful for a less severe case. But Dr. Spechler’s study did not guarantee that Gerd surgery will allow them to never again take medicine for the Gerd symptom or that it prevents a cancer of the esophagus.

If you think that surgery is a good option, you must be aware of the risks involved and possible side effects and complications during the post-operation periods. Let us look into the two types of Gerd surgery performed by renowned surgeons.

In the fundoplication surgery, the upper curve of the stomach (the fundus) is placed around the esophagus and kept in a place in such a way that the lower portion in such a way that the esophagus can pass through a small tunnel in the stomach muscle. The valve between the esophagus and stomach which is called sphincter is strengthened. After the Gerd surgery, the reflux of the stomach acid into esophagus is completely stopped and the walls of the esophagus are healed. An obese patient or a person with a short esophagus is operated upon from near the chest. The approach to the valve can be done from the abdomen for a normal person. The laparoscopic surgical method avoids blood loss and has mostly succeeded in the hands of experienced surgeons. Hiatal hernia in a person causing GERD can also be rectified during the Gerd surgery. During this surgical operation, the patient remains fully conscious since only local anesthesia is administered. Within 3 days of the surgery, he can return home. The recovery is faster.

In the open type of Gerd surgery, the patient is made unconscious by general anesthesia and a lengthy incision is made on his body by the surgeon. There are chances of high blood loss during the operation. He is required to suffer pain for 2 or 3 days. He has to rest for at least 6 weeks before resuming his normal routine. From now on, the patient is advised to practice new eating habits. The patient should consume soft food until the repaired organ is healed completely. He should chew the food thoroughly and swallow it slowly.
When prescription medication fails to relieve your Gerd symptoms or if you hate these medications being responsible for side effects, you can opt for the fundoplication surgery.

About 70% of the people who have undergone Gerd surgery have improved in their condition depending upon the experience of the surgeon. However, studies have not proved the efficacy of the fundoplication surgery in curing the Gerd symptom. Some patients have experienced the recurrence of the symptom 2 years after the surgery. The person who has undergone the Gerd surgery, can have lesser dosage of medication. About 30% of those who have undergone this surgery, seem to develop fresh problems of bloating, intestinal gas or swallowing difficulty.

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