Medical Monday: Anti-reflux surgery; is it for me?

Medical Monday: Anti-reflux surgery; is it for me?
Posted at 5:58 PM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 20:19:36-05

Dr. Anna Pierce is a general and bariatric surgeon with Aurora BayCare.

She joined us on Wisconsin Tonight to talk about acid-reflux surgery.

Anti-reflux surgery is a treatment for acid reflux, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD is a condition in which stomach acid flows back from the stomach into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. Reflux often occurs if the muscles where the esophagus (the tube from your mouth to the stomach) meets the stomach do not close tightly.

Are there noticeable symptoms?

Symptoms of reflux include, among others:

* A burning sensation in the stomach, throat or chest

* Burping or gas bubbles

* Dry cough

* Difficulty swallowing and regurgitation of food or sour liquid

* Sensation of a lump in your throat

When dietary and lifestyle changes and over-the-counter or prescribed medications fail to provide relief, surgery becomes an option. In addition, surgery might be the best option for patients with:

* Concerns about the long-term side effects or costs associated with medication

* Certain complications of GERD

* Symptoms of GERD outside the esophagus (e.g. asthma, cough, persistent regurgitation)

Anti-reflux surgery involves a procedure called a fundoplication. The procedure reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to stop reflux from occurring. A portion of the stomach is wrapped around the bottom of the esophagus, strengthening the LES valve. Anti-reflux surgery is often performed using laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique. During the technique a narrow tube-like camera and several long, thin operating instruments are inserted into the abdomen through small

incisions. The operation, aided by the camera, is then performed within the abdominal cavity. This type of surgical technique results in less pain, a shorter hospital stay, a faster recovery, smaller scars, and a lower risk of infection.

Heartburn and other symptoms should improve soon after surgery. Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery remains a highly effective treatment in 80 percent-90 percent of patients with GERD.

For more information, visit or call 877-677-5384.