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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD Surgery at North Texas Surgical Specialists

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD is a common condition that causes frequent acid reflux, along with other symptoms. North Texas Surgical Specialists in Fort Worth, Texas, offer surgical treatment options to patients with this condition. Patients with indigestion or other symptoms of GERD should contact North Texas Surgical Specialists to make an appointment with one of our doctors.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscular valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. This valve normally prevents food in the stomach from regurgitating back up into the esophagus. Patients with GERD have a weakened sphincter that allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. The esophageal lining becomes inflamed and patients experience heartburn, chest pain and sometimes a sour taste in the mouth. If left untreated, GERD can lead to ulcer formation, bleeding and scarring.

GERD is most commonly managed by medication and lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and diet modification. When these approaches are not effective for controlling a patient’s GERD, surgery may be indicated. Our surgeons perform a minimally invasive procedure called  “Nissen fundoplication” to treat patients with GERD.

Patients undergoing the robotic approach experience less pain and scarring than those who have a traditional open operation. Most patients begin to eat the morning after surgery and can leave the hospital within 48 hours.

What is GERD?

GERD is a chronic digestive disease. Patients with this condition experience a flow of stomach acid and/or contents into the esophagus from the stomach. This causes a variety of symptoms, including acid reflux, burning in the throat or chest, indigestion, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, and cough.

What causes GERD?

GERD usually occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, which is responsible for allowing food to pass from the throat into the stomach, gets weak or relaxes too often. This allows stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus and causes discomfort that could lead to other health problems.

How is GERD treated?

The first line of treatment for GERD is typically an over-the-counter or prescription medication to control the symptoms. Patients may also make lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain foods or by elevating the upper body at night. However, in some cases, these conservative treatments won’t be sufficient. For patients that don’t improve with conservative treatment, surgery may be the best option.

 

How does surgery help?

Surgery can improve the symptoms of GERD for patients who aren’t responding well to medications or simply want to avoid long-term medication usage. Two different surgical procedures are available for patients with GERD: Linx and Nissen fundoplication. Our surgeons can help patients determine which of these procedures is best for them.

What is Nissen fundoplication?

The Nissen fundoplication procedure is designed to tighten the esophageal sphincter. During this procedure, the surgeon wraps the top part of the stomach around the outside of the lower portion of the esophagus. This prevents the backflow of acid and reduces the symptoms of GERD. In most cases, our surgeons will perform this procedure laparoscopically.

How long is the recovery?

The recovery period following esophageal surgery can vary. Most patients will be able to return to their normal activities in 2-3 weeks.

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