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What is Acid Reflux Surgery?

Surgery for acid reflux disease is invasive procedure with one goal-reduction of damage to the esophagus caused by excess of stomach acid. This type of surgery is not commonly performed and is reserved only for severe cases of the disease. In case the patient responds suitably to medications there is no need for him/ her to be operated.

Nissen fundoplication is the standard surgery for acid reflux disease. The entire procedure is most commonly performed laparoscopically. This makes the surgery minimally invasive. In some cases the surgery is performed in a form of traditional open surgery. The procedure includes wrapping of the parts of the stomach around the lower esophagus. This way the natural valve between the stomach and the esophagus is strengthen and the acid simply does not enter the esophagus any more. Hence, the damage to the esophagus is eliminated and damaged mucous membrane gets the chance to recover.

What are Dangers and Risks of Acid Reflux Surgery?

As it is the case with any other surgery even surgery for acid reflux carries certain risks.

In many cases patients have to deal with nausea, abdominal cramping, gas bloating syndrome and swallowing problems. These complications are generally not permanent and tend to withdraw in time.

Furthermore, some more serious complications include dumping syndrome, excessive scarring and in rare cases achalasia. There is also a chance of surgery failure when patients start to experience the same symptoms and signs of the disease even though they have been surgically treated.

Gas bloat syndrome is one of the potential complications of Nissen fundoplication. Patients suffering from this complication complain about belching due to gas accumulation in the stomach and small intestine. This complication affects approximately 2-5% of all patients and it generally withdraws within 2-5 weeks. In some cases the problem may persist. In case the condition persists in spite of dietary restrictions and counseling regarding aerophagia (swallowing of air that may be responsible for gas bloat syndrome) a person may need to undergo an endoscopic balloon dilatation.

During the very procedure the operated area is inflated with gas. The very presence of the gas together with psychological and physical trauma associated with the operation may lead to postoperative irritable bowel syndrome. This complication generally features with initial constipation and later diarrhea and gas expulsion.

One more side effect of the surgery is difficulty or even impossibility of one to vomit once he/ she has been operated. The problem is evident initially, but small amounts of vomit may be produced after the wrap settles over time. It is essential to restore one's ability to vomit since this defensive activity is essential in certain circumstances such as alcohol or food poisoning.

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