Q:

When should laparoscopic reflux surgery be considered?

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Quick Answer

A person with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, should consider having laparoscopic reflux surgery if medication doesn't relieve his symptoms, if he can't take medication for an extended period, or if he prefers surgery to the possibility of taking medication and experiencing symptoms for the rest of his life, states WebMD. Patients whose GERD results from a hiatal hernia often need reflux surgery to repair the hernia.

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Full Answer

The technical name for reflux surgery is Nissen fundoplication, explains Laparoscopic.md. When performing this procedure laparoscopically, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the abdomen and uses a laparoscope, a camera and other instruments to operate. She pulls up the upper part of the stomach and wraps it around the lower part of the esophagus so that the stronger stomach muscles can support and strengthen the sphincter. The postsurgical hospital stay lasts one to three days, and recovery time takes up to three weeks.

Many people control their GERD symptoms well enough with medication that the risks of surgery outweigh the benefits, WebMD claims. These risks include difficulty swallowing, flatulence, the return of heartburn, bloating and discomfort from gas that can't pass through burping, and the usual risks of major surgery, such as infection. GERD sufferers must weigh the benefit of potentially eliminating the need for medication against these risks when making a decision.

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