Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon
Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery is used in the management of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Patients with reflux, suffer from heartburn, often after eating or drinking alcohol. Although non-life threatening, reflux is a very unpleasant symptom. Sometimes in addition to pain, patients will experience nausea, regurgitation of acid or food. The symptoms are typically worse at night; lying flat will sometimes cause choking episodes. Patients often complain of a foul taste in the mouth in the morning. Drugs that reduce the stomach's production of acid are usually helpful. Surgery is usually reserved for patients who suffer on-going symptoms despite medication.
Reflux occurs because of an underlying weakness in a valve at the top of the stomach that stops acid from refluxing into the oesophagus. Patients with reflux normally have a weakened valve. There are a number of different surgical approaches, all aim to strengthen this valve by wrapping the stomach partially or fully around the lower oesophagus. The surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic, with an overnight stay in hospital. Patients will normally be back to normal in ten days to a fortnight. Surgical complications are unusual. Some patients do find it difficult to belch after surgery and can suffer abdominal bloating, discomfort and increased flatulence similar to an exacerbation of irritable bowel syndrome. Most patients will find that food sticks above their stomach in the first few weeks after surgery, but this will usually improve with time.