If conservative treatment for acid reflux is not working, a surgeon may recommend anti reflux surgery.
Acid reflux (indigestion) occurs when stomach acid travels up your oesophagus (gullet) often causing a burning sensation. This can happen if the valve between your stomach and your oesophagus is not working properly.
Drugs that lower the acid content in your stomach may resolve this condition. If conservative treatment is not working for you, your surgeon may recommend anti reflux surgery.
What happens during laparoscopic anti reflux surgery?
Laparoscopic anti reflux surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes between one and two hours.
Your surgeon will make several small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen (stomach). They will place surgical instruments, along with a tube connected to a light and camera (called a laparoscope) inside your abdomen to perform the operation. So your surgeon will have room to work your abdomen will be inflated with carbon dioxide gas.
Your surgeon will stitch your diaphragm to reduce the size of the hole your oesophagus passes through. They will then wrap and stitch the top part of your stomach around your lower oesophagus. This creates a valve preventing excess acid from travelling into your oesophagus.
They will close your wounds with stitches or staples.
After your operation
Once your operation is over, you’ll be taken to the recovery room where you will wake from the anaesthetic. Your wounds, blood pressure and pulse will be checked carefully.
You may have a drain in your abdomen to remove fluid. This will be removed before you leave hospital.
You may also have a drip (infusion) going into your arm. This will keep you hydrated until you are able to drink.
When you are stable and comfortable, a nurse will take you to your room.
Going home after laparoscopic anti reflux surgery
Because laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, your hospital stay will be shorter. You should be able to go home the day after your procedure.
You will be given pain relief medication. Be sure and tell our healthcare team if you in any pain or discomfort.
You may be given dietary instructions on foods to avoid immediately after surgery. Soft, more liquid foods may be easier to swallow in the first few days.
You should rest and avoid any strenuous activity for the first two weeks. Be sure and discuss any return to work with your surgeon.
What are the complications of laparoscopic anti reflux surgery?
As with any surgery there can be complications.
General complications of surgery:
- Infection of the surgical site (incision)
- Blood clots (DVT - deep vein thrombosis)
Specific complications of laparoscopic anti reflux surgery may include:
- Damage to internal organs
- Developing a hernia near your wound sites
- Difficulty swallowing
- Air in chest cavity
- Tear of the stitches holding the stomach wrap
- Liver damage
- Recurrence of reflux
Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?
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