Known medically as "fundoplication," GERD surgery is a procedure in which the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is tightened. Other surgeries for strengthening the LES include the Bard EndoCinch system and the Stretta system. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved an implant called Enteryx that may help people who wish to avoid this surgery.
If a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes and treatment with drugs is not effective, surgery may be recommended for the treatment of GERD. This surgery, known medically as "fundoplication," is a procedure in which the lower esophageal sphincter is tightened. This surgery can be done with laparoscopic techniques, which often leave smaller scars. There are also a couple of newer options available for people considering surgery.
Fundoplication, usually a specific variation called Nissen fundoplication, is the standard surgical treatment for GERD. During this surgery, the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to strengthen the sphincter and prevent acid reflux. This procedure can also be used to repair a hiatal hernia. This surgery may be done using a laparoscope (which is a specialized video camera) and requires only tiny incisions in the abdomen. Laparoscopic fundoplication is usually preferred over the older method because the recovery is quicker and the risk of complications is decreased. People who have a laparoscopic fundoplication can leave the hospital in 1 to 3 days and return to work in 2 to 3 weeks.
The success of this surgery will vary on the individual situation, although most patients report some relief of symptoms. Fundoplication can lead to additional problems in some people, including bloating, adhesions, and nerve damage. The long-term effects of this procedure aren't known yet.