Surgery for Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux Solution Kit

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Reflux relief using 3 common grocery store items.

Acid reflux is a digestive problem characterized by the rising of the stomach acids to the esophagus, causing heartburn, regurgitation, and vomiting. It can be quite dangerous if untreated for a long time since the acids continuously bruise the esophagus, and this may lead to the development of other serious diseases like esophagitis or the inflammation of the esophagus, esophageal cancer which has a very low survival rate, and Barrett’s esophagus which is a common precursor to esophageal cancer.

Reflux occurs when there are excessive amounts of stomach acids in the body. Naturally, acids in the digestive tract are essential for normal digestion and assimilation of nutrient. However, the amount of these acids should only be within the normal range, and when it reaches a higher amount, it may overflow when foods enter the stomach. Likewise, when the stomach receives acidic foods, the level of acids is even more elevated, and the regurgitation is aggravated. Heartburn is commonly experienced when the acids reach the esophagus, and indigestion is also present. Vomiting happens when the acids continuously flow up to the jaw, and is released through the mouth.

There are many treatments and home remedies for acid reflux, but sometimes there are cases when the reflux is really untreatable and unmanageable. Sometimes, it may be because of an underlying problem like gastric or peptic ulcers, hiatal hernias, and other serious gastric problems. Individuals who want to undergo surgery for acid reflux are also tested if they really need to undergo the procedure or not. Some people who are immediately qualified are those who already suffer from esophagitis and other esophageal problems, children who have become underweight and malnourished due to reflux, and those who have had the disease for years and have not found treatment despite the continuous intake of medications and lifestyle alterations.

The most common surgical procedure for treating acid reflux is fundoplication. There are two types of fundoplication, the Open Nissen Fundoplication and the Laparoscopic Fundoplication. The Open Nissen Fundoplication is a very invasive procedure and makes use of several big incisions. During this procedure, the doctor wraps the upper part of the stomach, also known as the fundus, around the esophagus, creating a collar-like structure which outs pressure on the esophagus and preventing any stomach acid to rise up it. This is usually effective, but it only eliminates the method for the acid to rise up, and not really the source of the acid. Therefore, medications should still be taken even after surgery. Also, the procedure is very invasive, and it takes 6-10 days of hospitalization. The total healing process is not even included there. It might take several months before an individual could completely recover from the surgery.

The newer process is the Laparoscopic Fundoplication, the same objective is performed, which is by creating a collar-like structure around the esophagus. However, it is less invasive because instead of making wide incisions on the abdomen, only a small incision is made, and a laparoscope with a tiny video camera is inserted into the abdomen through the incision. By inflating the abdomen using a gas, the doctor can freely move and operate inside the patient’s stomach. The camera inside the stomach is viewed on a video output and this is what the doctor uses to see what he is operating on.

Even if it uses the same concept, the Laparoscopic Fundoplication takes less recovery and produces more satisfying results. A patient can even stop his medications after the surgery if it is successful. Nonetheless, it may still bring about post-operational side effects, so the patient should be careful especially when moving around and treating the operative incision.

Surgery is always a last option, and you should talk about your doctor first before undergoing such procedures. In the end, it is still unsure whether you will or will not benefit from the process.