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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - Surgery

Surgery may be used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms that have not been well controlled by medicines.

Surgery may be an option when:

  • Medicines don't completely relieve symptoms, and the remaining symptoms are caused by reflux of stomach juices.
  • A person doesn't want or, because of side effects, is not able to take medicines over an extended period of time to control GERD symptoms.
  • Along with reflux, a person has symptoms such as asthma, hoarseness, or cough that do not adequately improve when treated with medicines.

The benefits of surgery need to be compared to the possible complications and new symptoms you may have after surgery. Surgery for GERD can cause problems with swallowing and burping. It can also cause extra gas in the digestive tract, which leads to bloating and passing gas (flatulence).

After surgery, you may need to have other procedures to fix these problems. Some people still have to take medicine to control their symptoms, even after surgery. And some people need to have surgery again.

GERD: Which Treatment Should I Use?

Surgery choices

Fundoplication surgery is the most common surgery used to treat GERD. This surgery strengthens the valve between the esophagus and stomach (lower esophageal sphincter) to keep acid from backing up into the esophagus as easily. It relieves GERD symptoms and inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis).

Other types of surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease may include:

  • Partial fundoplication. Partial fundoplication involves wrapping the stomach only partway around the esophagus. Full fundoplication involves wrapping the stomach around the esophagus so that it completely encircles it. Most fundoplication surgery uses the full fundoplication method.
  • Gastropexy. A gastropexy attaches the stomach to the diaphragm so that the stomach cannot move through the opening in the diaphragm into the chest. Gastropexy is done less often than fundoplication.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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