Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a medical condition characterized by regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. The esophagus is the organ of the digestive tract which cannot protect itself from damaging effects of stomach acid. So, permanent and recurrent exposure to stomach acid can have detrimental effects on the esophageal lining. The problem can become even more complex if stomach acid reaches upper parts of the respiratory tract and initiates irritation of the throat or trachea.
In majority of cases re-entrance of stomach acid into the esophagus is the result of inadequate closure of the cardiac sphincter (the muscle located between the esophagus and the stomach).
Acid reflux surgery is the last resort for individuals suffering from acid reflux disease in which the condition cannot be brought under control with any of the available conservative treatments. This procedure is known under the name Nissen fundoplication. Acid Reflux Surgery - the Very Procedure
During the procedure the surgeon manipulates with the fundus (the upper parts of the stomach), wraps it around the lower portion of the esophagus and finally, places stitches to bring these organs together. By doing so the cardiac sphincter is reinforced and becomes strong enough to prevent further regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus.
The procedure is done laparoscopically. Depending on many factors its price ranges between 15,000 and 20,000 USD.
Recovery after acid reflux surgery varies and may last from one to two weeks. Initially, patients are advised to stick to a liquid diet and they may eventually start to gradually consume solid foods. This prevents putting too much pressure on the operated stomach.
Acid Reflux Surgery Complications
This surgery has many side effects. Because of that it is only performed in case none of the available treatments can stop re-entrance of stomach acid into the esophagus.
Mortality rate is not so high (1%). In spite of that, the surgery carries many risks and one may develop different complications. For instance, there may be excessive bloating (a consequence of the gases getting trapped in the stomach), swallowing difficulties, internal scarring etc. Patients may additionally develop postoperative irritable bowel syndrome. This is, fortunately, only a transient complication. But, the most severe side effect of acid reflux surgery is definitely loss of one's ability to vomit and regurgitate. This is a serious problem especially if an individual ingests some toxins.
To sum up, apart from benefits, all the mentioned complications and potential side effects are to be taken into consideration when opting for acid reflux surgery.