If you take a walk through a pharmacy, you quickly realize how common acid reflux is because entire aisles are devoted to antacids and other remedies. About 20% of the US population has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a chronic problem with acid reflux.
In most cases, medications and lifestyle changes can work well to manage GERD, but some people don’t find any relief with these more conservative steps. If you find yourself in this position, reflux surgery may be your best option for a life that isn’t overshadowed by uncomfortable acid reflux.
The experienced and skilled team of surgeons here at Rockwall Surgical Specialists has extensive experience helping patients with hard-to-treat GERD to overcome this issue, once and for all, with reflux surgery. Here’s a look at how this surgery can bring you relief from chronic acid reflux when medications aren’t enough.
Behind the GERD
To better understand the surgery we perform to resolve acid reflux, it’s helpful to take a look at what happens when you have GERD.
When you swallow food or liquids, they travel down your esophagus and enter your stomach, passing through a muscle sphincter that closes off once the substances pass through. Called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), this passageway creates a barrier between your stomach and your esophagus so food and digestive acids stay in your stomach.
When you have GERD, your LES isn’t functioning properly, which allows stomach acids and other stomach contents to work their way back up into your esophagus (regurgitation). The lining of your esophagus and throat isn’t designed to handle the irritating and abrasive gastric acids, leaving you with discomfort in the form of heartburn.
Most people can control GERD through medications, lifestyle changes, and diet adjustments. For some, however, these steps are inadequate and acid reflux continues to wreak havoc on their lives.
Reflux surgery for GERD
For people who don’t respond to more conservative GERD treatments, reflux surgery may be the best path forward. Called a Nissen fundoplication, this is a procedure in which we create a stronger barrier between your esophagus and stomach by tightening your LES.
In most cases, we can perform a Nissen fundoplication using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. This means we only make very small incisions in your abdomen through which we thread a camera and specialized instruments to perform the tightening.
When we refer to tightening, we take your upper stomach and wrap it tightly around the bottom of your esophagus, which reinforces the junction between the two areas, keeping the contents of your stomach out of your throat.
Once you heal, your problem with gastric reflux should be a thing of the past, allowing you to live, eat, and sleep normally again.
If medication can’t control your acid reflux and you’d like to explore whether reflux surgery is right for you, please contact us at one of our locations in Rowlett, Rockwall, Greenville, Terrell, and Forney, Texas, to schedule a consultation.