Most overweight individuals complain of heartburn. Excess fat accumulation inside the belly contributes to increased pressure on the stomach, leading to acid reflux. Furthermore, overweight individuals tend to overeat. Overeating stretches and weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, LES, allowing acid to reflux back up into the esophagus. Delayed gastric emptying and a dilated gastric fundus (upper part of the stomach) also may contribute to the increased incidence of heartburn in this patient population.
At Houston Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center, we always treat the cause of acid reflux to eliminate the symptom of heartburn. For a patient with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35 and suffering from acid reflux, the best treatment is weight loss surgery. Bariatric surgery allows for long-term effective weight loss, leading to alleviation of most acid reflux symptoms. Sleeve gastrectomy is currently the most commonly performed weight loss procedure around the world. During sleeve surgery, 85% of the stomach is resected, ending up with a banana-shaped stomach. As you lose weight following sleeve surgery, heartburn tends to resolve. A recent study published in the Annals of Surgery by Dr. Morino showed that heartburn resolves after sleeve gastrectomy in the majority of patients who suffered from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) prior to surgery. The study also showed that new onset acid reflux after sleeve gastrectomy is rare. Interestingly, the study demonstrated that sleeve surgery increases the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, LES, hence strengthening the acid reflux barrier. This is an additional anti-reflux property for the sleeve that is independent of weight loss.
If you have persistent heartburn after sleeve surgery, Houston Heartburn and Reflux Center offers thorough evaluation for bariatric patients. Our acid reflux and bariatric surgery expert, Dr. Darido, has adopted a comprehensive approach for sleeve patients suffering from acid reflux. A missed hiatal hernia, a retained gastric fundus, or narrowing in the gastric sleeve are the most common causes for persistent acid reflux after sleeve surgery. Dr. Darido offers simple solutions to help you get rid of acid reflux and enjoy weight loss. If you are a sleeve patient and suffers from acid reflux, please contact us today.