In more severe cases of acid reflux or GERD, it’s likely that your doctor will recommend surgery to alleviate the symptoms and effects of the condition. Anti-reflux surgery, unlike other treatment options like medication or lifestyle changes, is the only form of GERD treatment that effectively relieves symptoms long-term by treating the root cause, i.e. your GERD. Most acid reflux surgeries aim to repair the lower esophageal sphincter—or LES—a valve that can be damaged or weakened, causing acid reflux and GERD.
If you suffer from ongoing complications from your acid reflux, including chronic heartburn, stomach acid causing inflammation of the esophagus, stomach bleeding or ulcers, many medical professionals will recommend surgery as the next step in the process to a better life. We will discuss three acid reflux surgery options that can change your life.
This type of acid reflux surgery is the standard surgical treatment for the condition. The surgery tightens and reinforces the LES by wrapping (or plicating) the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophagus. This surgery can be performed as an open surgery or a laparoscopic surgery. Talk to your doctor about your options for this surgery and the details and possible complications associated with each.
TIF is a partial fundoplication procedure, a less invasive version of the Lap Nissen that’s often done endoscopically (through the mouth) to treat GERD. The TIF procedure allows surgeons to partially pleat the stomach around the esophagus in order to lengthen and tighten the patient’s sphincter, correcting their GERD and therefore reducing their symptoms. It’s a partial fundoplication procedure, meaning that rather than wrapping the stomach 360 degrees around the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) like they do during a Lap Nissen procedure, the stomach is used to create a 270-300 degree plication instead. The effect it has on the sphincter is similar to taking a straight tube and turning it into a funnel. TIF helps lengthen and reinforce the LES, turning it into a funnel type object that has the ability to let things down but keeps them from splashing back up. This option is a less invasive surgery and may suit those looking for something less intrusive with a shorter recovery time.
This surgery employs a unique device called LINX, a ring comprised of magnetic titanium beads. When wrapped around the LES, it works to strengthen the sphincter. Because the beads are magnetic, they move together to keep the opening between the stomach and the esophagus closed. Food can still pass through normally, but it protects against inappropriate opening and symptoms of acid reflux. This surgery is minimally invasive and recovery time is generally shorter than the traditional surgeries.
If you suffer from chronic acid reflux or GERD—you have options. Talk to your doctor and see if an acid reflux surgery is right for you.