YES. While many people suffer from acid reflux not all of them have true acid reflux. It is true that there small group of patients who will truly benefit from acid reflux surgery. For this group of patients, surgery can be life saving.
Are the symptoms that I am suffering are from acidity?
Please look it up whether is it really acidity? Or is it IBS?
Which group of patients will benefit from surgery?
Surgery should be treatment of choice in people who suffer from acid/food coming upto oesophagus (food pipe)/throat. Symptoms are caused by acid/food coming into food pipe or upto throat. It is burning sensation between the ribs or back of the throat. In some, it can lead to recurrent throat infection or change of voice. If symptoms are severe then it might feel like heart attack at times.
Some or all of this symptoms are made worse by bending down or lying position.
Why does these symptoms happen?
It happens if there is disruption in the defense mechanisms preventing the food/acid coming upto chest.
1. Weak Lower Oesophageal Sphincter (LOS): LOS is a one way valve at the lower end of food pipe (Oesophagus). It is meant to allow food to go from oesophagus to stomach but not the other way around. When it is weak, it leads to acid reflux and burning of oesophagus (Oesophagitis).
2. Hiatus hernia: This is a condition when part of the stomach is in the chest through the weakness of diaphragm muscle. This might give sensation of food being struck in the chest.
Are there other factors that contribute to the acid reflux?
Yes they are
- Tight dress
- Body posture – bending down/laying flat
- Too much of spicy & fatty/oily food
- Food habits
- Certain medications
Is surgery first choice in all patients? No
What are the steps before surgery?
- Life style changes
- Drug therapy
When should one consider surgery?
One should consider surgery in one of the following situations
- Medicines are not giving complete cure and some symptoms are persisting inspite of taking medicines.
- Symptoms are suppressed when one is on medicines but return as soon as discontinuing medicines.
- One does not wish to take medicines for life long and risk serious nutritional deficiencies.
How is Surgery performed and what are the benefits?
Now a days surgery is performed as keyhole (Laparoscopic). This means
- One is in the hospital only for 2/3 days
- Able to return to work within week or so
- Scars are barely visible after few weeks
- Minimal post op pain needing only simple pain killer medicines
How is surgery performed?
It re creates the lost anatomical defense mechanism. In general the stomach in the chest is returned to normal abdominal position and the valve which is weak is strengthened. Part of stomach (Fundus) is wrapped around the lower end of oesophagus to add extra strength to the valve.