Heartburn is the symptom that a person feels when acid splashes up and out of the stomach and it is sometimes used interchangeably with the term acid reflux.
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a case of severe and chronic acid reflux and it can often lead to complications including cancer.
Sometimes GERD and heartburn can be managed with medication but when they can no longer be treated in such a way surgery is another option.
There are a small percentage of people who suffer from GERD and do not respond to lifestyle changes and drugs for them, surgery is the only solution that appears to be left.
The surgery for these conditions is controversial, and there are even some studies that question whether the surgery cures the condition. It is only used as a last resort, when drug treatment fails and when the sphincter muscle can no longer control reflux symptoms.
Also, surgery is used when esophageal cancer develops from chronic GERD.
Laparoscopic surgery is an alternative to some of the more traditional surgical procedures. The procedure is minimally invasive and it corrects GERD by creating an improved valve mechanism at the bottom of a person’s esophagus. In order to correct the reflux that is occurring, the surgeon will wrap the upper part of the stomach around the lower portion of the esophagus and create a tight sphincter so that food will not reflux back into the esophagus.
People who have not had any abdominal surgery previously, experience most of their GERD symptoms while lying down, have no history of bleeding disorders, are not pregnant and do not have heart or lung disease can all qualify for this kind of surgery.
It is important to remember that not everyone is a candidate for this kind of surgery. If the GERD patient is not a candidate, then they will have to settle for a more invasive procedure, such as a laparotomy, which requires opening the abdomen completely, or a thoractomy, which involves opening the chest up.
It is important to consult a doctor in any case, because, as stated earlier, surgery for GERD is not often recommended and there are some experts that are not even sure whether it is fully effective.
Even if the statistics say that about 90 percent or more of people who undergo such surgeries are cured of the symptoms of chronic heartburn, many experts believe that the cure will not be permanent.