Surgical options for Acid Reflux

Surgical options for Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter doesn't function normally and the stomach contents backflow into the esophagus. This is fairly common among people, but pregnant women and old people are more susceptible to it. Acid reflux can be caused by trigger foods like chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, citrus fruits, fatty and spicy food. Personal habits like lying down after eating, sleeping on a flat surface and eating a few large meals can also aggravate the situation.

Anxiety and stress are often felt in the stomach.  Stress increases pressure, causing gastric muscles to contract and pushing the stomach contents. It can also cause certain body parts to shut down or go into an overdrive. As such acid production may increase. Although there is no concrete evidence, it is believed that acid reflux stress maybe related to anxiety. Stress can magnify the symptoms of an acid reflux too.

Complete information on acid reflux and GERD can be found on Refluxmd.

Surgical procedures and options

Acid reflux can be managed with diet, lifestyle changes and medication. However, in some cases, doctors can advise on surgical options. There are various procedures that can be used to address a reflux problem.

1) Nissen Fundoplication

People with chronic and severe esophageal reflux may need surgery if their symptoms are not relieved by other available means. If left untreated, it can morph into a serious medical condition like cancer. Hence Nissen Fundoplication or Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is used when all other methods don't work.

In this procedure, small incisions are made to the abdomen. The upper part of the stomach is then wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter to make it sturdy and support it to perform its function. This is the most popular surgical procedure used by doctors to treat severe GERD cases.

2) Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication

Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication or TIF is used when fundoplication is not appropriate. This procedure creates a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, which prevents reflux. The procedure doesn't need any incisions, while a device known as EsophyX is inserted through the mouth. It creates a fold at the base of the esophagus and they form a new valve. There are no cuts made and is perfectly safe for patients with GERD.

3) Stretta Procedure

A flexible, thin tube known as an endoscope is put into the esophagus. An electrode at the tip of heats the esophageal tissue and creates small cuts into it. These cuts form scar tissue and block nerves that respond to acid. This procedure is new, and a doctor's advice is needed to decide on usage.

4) Linx Surgery

A special device called Linx is inserted and wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter. It is made of titanium, with small magnetic beads. This process strengthens the sphincter as the magnetic force closes the passage that allows a reflux but is not strong enough to stop passage of food. This procedure is minimally invasive and recovery time is very short.

Each procedure is different and can be opted for after a consultation with the doctor. More information on acid reflux surgery, pre-requirements, preparation and recovery can be found on Refluxmd.

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