Treating Acid Reflux
Acid Reflux Treatment Options
There are different acid reflux treatment options available, which depend on the severity of the condition. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and suggest the most suitable treatment:
Lifestyle and dietary changes
If you experience moderate-to-severe acid reflux symptoms that are not relieved by lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medicines, your doctor may prescribe certain medications for your condition. These prescription medications for the treatment of acid reflux may include:
- Several types of proton pump inhibitors to lower the amount of acid made by the stomach
- Prokinetics, which help accelerate stomach emptying
Surgery may be recommended if your GERD symptoms fail to improve with lifestyle changes and medicines. These may include:
- Fundoplication. This surgery is done using a laparoscope and is the most common surgery for GERD. The goal is to increase pressure to the lower end of the oesophagus and reduce reflux. It often leads to immediate relief of acid reflux and patients typically loses the need to rely on long-term medication.
- Scroll down to learn more about the Fundoplication surgery!
- Endoscopic techniques. Endoscopic sewing and radiofrequency are procedures done using an endoscope to tighten the sphincter muscle. These newer procedures may be suitable for certain patients but is often considered to be not as effect as Fundoplication, which is typically considered the gold standard treatment for acid reflux.
More about Laparoscopic Anti-Reflux Surgery - Fundoplication
Trained surgeons like Dr Kan will almost mostly perform Fundoplication via minimally invasive methods, unless it’s not possible or not feasible to do so. The decision will be made strictly based on the patients’ safety.
When Do You Need a Fundoplication?
Most cases of Acid Reflux/GERD are caused by the weakened muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter or LES, for short. This is the valve between the esophagus and stomach that allows food and liquid into the stomach but stops stomach acids from refluxing back into the esophagus. GERD occurs when the LES does not function properly allowing acid to flow back and burn the lower esophagus.
When lifestyle changes, diet and medications don’t help, surgery may be the next best option for you. Right now, Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication is considered the ‘gold standard’ for treating GERD in patients.
How is a laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery performed?
During surgery, the top of the stomach (the fundus – hence the term fundoplication) is wrapped around the bottom of the esophagus. The stomach is then sutured in place for long-term effectiveness. The additional compression reinforces the LES and restores much of its normal function. If a hiatal hernia is present, this is fixed at the same time as the Nissen fundoplication.
This minimally invasive method greatly reduces the recovery time and return to work. The hospital stay is usually one night and patients can return to activity within 1 to 2 weeks.
Types of Fundoplication
There are different ways of doing a fundoplication. Here are the most common.
- Nissen’s fundoplication. This is when your surgeon wraps the top part of your stomach all the way around the lower part of your oesophagus.
- Partial fundoplication. In this type, your surgeon wraps your stomach just partially around your oesophagus. This may be around the front Dor (anterior fundoplication) or the back (posterior or Toupet fundoplication).
What are the possible complications of Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication surgery?
Complications after a laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery are rare. For an in-depth discussion of the risks, options, and alternatives to laparoscopic fundoplication, please make an appointment with Dr Kan today!
If you suspect that you may have GERD, you should see a specialist.
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