Laparoscopic antireflux surgery involves correcting gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD, by reinforcing the lower esophageal sphincter, reconstructing the esophageal hiatus and reducing the hiatal hernia, according to Cleveland Clinic. It is often recommended for patients with severe chronic GERD that does not respond to other treatments.
Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is sometimes preferred over traditional antireflux surgery because it is minimally invasive and patients report less pain and scarring post-surgery along with a faster recovery and reduced risk of infection, notes Cleveland Clinic. The length of hospital stay is reduced from five to six days with traditional surgery to just two days with laparoscopic procedures. In addition, no nasogastric tube is needed for the laparoscopic surgery.
During the procedure, the surgeon makes five to six small incisions in the abdominal region, which is then inflated using carbon dioxide so that the surgeon can see better inside, advises Cleveland Clinic. Surgical instruments and the laparoscope are inserted through the incisions, and the surgeon sees inside via a video monitor as he works to repair the esophagus and hiatal hernia.
To tighten the lower esophagus, the surgeon wraps the top of the stomach around the lower part of the esophagus and then stitches it into position, according to WebMD. Essentially, this tightens the lower esophagus and prevents acid from moving into the esophagus from the stomach.