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Surgery For GERD - Types, Results and Recovery

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Manish K Gupta 89% (80ratings)
F.I.A.G.E.S , MNAMS (Membership of The National Academy) (General Surgery), DNB (General Surgery), MBBS, FALS
General Surgeon, Delhi  •  22years experience
Surgery For GERD - Types, Results and Recovery

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a chronic condition that can cause discomfort and a burning sensation in the chest. This is caused by stomach acids or bile that flows backward into the food pipe. If this happens more than twice a week, the patient may be diagnosed with GERD. Mild cases of GERD may be treated with lifestyle changes, antacids, diet changes and proton pump inhibitors. In more serious cases, surgery may also be needed. This aims at repairing or replacing the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This valve is responsible for the backward movement of acids from the stomach to the food pipe.

Types of Surgery for GERD
Surgery is usually the last option for doctors treating GERD. This relieves symptoms of GERD and eliminates the need for long-term medication. There are many different types of surgical treatments. Some of the factors that determine the best type of surgery suited to a patient include the patient’s age, weight, overall health etc.

  1. Fundoplication: This surgery focuses on tightening the LES. Fundoplication may be performed as an open surgery or as a laparoscopic surgery. In both cases, the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophagus to reinforce and strengthen the LES. Fundoplication is the most common surgical procedure used to treat GERD and has a high success rate.
  2. Stretta Procedure: This is an outpatient procedure that is performed using an endoscope. The doctor will pass a thin tube with an electrode at one end down the patient’s esophagus. The electrode heats the tissue in the esophagus and makes tiny cuts. These cuts will then form scar tissue that strengthens the muscles surrounding the esophagus and blocks acid reflux. This is a fairly new procedure and hence the long-term results are still not clear.
  3. Bard EndoCinch System: This procedure is not very common. It involves the use of an endoscope that is used to make stitches in the esophagus so as to create pleats in the LES. This helps strengthen the valve and prevent acid reflux.
  4. Linx Surgery: This is a minimally invasive surgery where a special device called a linx is wrapped around the LES. A linx can be described as a small ring of magnetic titanium beads. This ring allows food to pass through but otherwise keeps the opening between the esophagus and stomach closed. Linx surgery is a relatively new procedure that has shown good results.

Recovering from Surgery for GERD
Recovering from surgery for GERD depends largely on the type of surgery undergone. Laparoscopic procedures have a short recovery time and are associated with less pain as compared to traditional open surgeries. Open surgery usually takes 2 weeks for full recovery while a patient may recover from laparoscopic surgery within a week.

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