Acid Reflux Surgery: Are You A Candidate?

Acid Reflux Surgery: Are You A Candidate?

The objective of acid reflux surgery is to restore the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) function to prevent acid from refluxing into the esophagus. Hence, acid reflux surgery addresses the cause of the problem. The cause of acid reflux is a weak barrier (LES) between the esophagus and stomach. By restoring this barrier, anti-reflux surgery eliminates acid reflux symptoms and liberates the patient from daily anti-reflux medication intake.

There are quite a few reasons why someone would consider surgery. More and more patients are seeking surgery as an alternative to a lifetime of anti-reflux medication intake. These powerful medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have a number of serious side effects: Osteoporosis, vitamin B12 and Magnesium deficiency, pneumonia and Clostridium Difficile bacteria infection, complications with anti-clotting agents like Plavix…Peter is a 30-year-old engineer that has been taking PPIs every single day for the past 10 years. He was rightly concerned about his treatment regimen. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to stay on PPIs the rest of my life”, he said to me during his consultation. Peter was fully aware of the side effects of PPIs taking over a long period of time. “ I don’t want to go through the rest of my life taking PPIs”. After a complete evaluation and workup, I recommended anti-reflux surgery for Peter.

Another common indication for acid reflux surgery, in Houston, is failure of medical therapy. This means that the maximal dosage of anti-reflux medication has failed to provide relief. I saw a patient today who takes 2 PPI (proton pump inhibitor) a day and one Zantac (Histamine receptor blocker) at night. However, the patient’s symptoms are not controlled. She continues to suffer from heartburn and intermittent coughing especially at night. She has obviously failed medical therapy. There is no need to continue suffering like this. Surgery is an excellent solution and is strongly recommended in this particular situation.

Some patients have a large hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach pushes upward into the chest through a defect in the breathing muscle (diaphragm). A large hiatal hernia allows food and acid to back up into the esophagus. Patients usually report food regurgitation when bending over. A laparoscopic (surgery through tiny cuts) hiatal hernia repair with Nissen Fundoplication is the treatment of choice in this situation. Surgery restores the functions of the lower esophageal sphincter and stops food and acid back up into the esophagus.

At Houston Heartburn and Reflux Center, we offer our patients comprehensive treatment solutions for our acid reflux. If you suffer from acid reflux symptoms and would like to explore your treatment options please give us a call.