What do I need to know about GERD surgery?

If you are like most people with GERD, other treatment options will effectively take care of your symptoms and help heal any damage. But sometimes, medication and lifestyle changes are not enough, and surgery may be required.


Fundoplication is the most common surgery used to correct acid reflux. During the newest form of this procedure, called laparoscopic fundoplication, surgeons build a new valve-like organ to do the work of the lower esophageal sphincter between your stomach and esophagus and to reduce any hiatal hernia. Up to 90% of people who have the fundoplication procedure remain symptom free up to 10 years after surgery.


How is it performed?

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in your abdomen and inserts a narrow, tube-like instrument, called a trocar. Next, the surgeon inserts a tiny telescope attached to a video camera, called a laparoscope, through the trocar to provide a magnified view of your internal organs.

The surgeon makes a few more incisions in your abdomen and inserts 4 more trocars for surgical instruments. He or she then pulls back the liver to view the area that lies between your stomach and esophagus. Then, the upper portion of your stomach is wrapped around the lower end of your esophagus to form the new valve, and the 2 ends are sewed together. Finally, the surgeon sews the small incisions in your abdomen using dissolvable stitches and covers them with a bandage.

What are the advantages of laparoscopic fundoplication?

Laparoscopic fundoplication offers significant advantages over traditional surgery for GERD. Before laparoscopic surgery became available, a much longer and more dangerous procedure was used. The incisions were larger and potential complications included blood clots, infection, and pain.

Will I need treatment after surgery?

Some studies show very high success rates following the most commonly performed GERD surgery, laparoscopic fundoplication - as high as 90% after 3 years. It is important, however, to choose a surgeon who is very experienced with this particular type of surgery and ask him or her if you are a good candidate for it and what your possible outcomes may be.