Anti-reflux surgery is a treatment for acid reflux, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD is a condition in which food or stomach acid comes back up from your stomach into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube from your mouth to the stomach.
Reflux often occurs if the muscles where the esophagus meets the stomach do not close tightly enough. A hiatal hernia can make GERD symptoms worse. It occurs when the stomach bulges through this opening into your chest.
Symptoms of reflux or heartburn are burning in the stomach that you may also feel in your throat or chest, burping or gas bubbles, or trouble swallowing food or fluids.
The most common procedure of this type is called fundoplication. In this surgery, your surgeon will:
First repair the hiatal hernia, if one is present. This involves tightening the opening in your diaphragm with stitches to keep your stomach from bulging upward through the opening in the muscle wall. Some surgeons place a piece of mesh in the repaired area to make it more secure.
Wrap the upper part of your stomach around the end of your esophagus with stitches. The stitches create pressure at the end of your esophagus, which helps prevent stomach acid and food from flowing up from the stomach into the esophagus.
Surgery is done while you are under general anesthesia, so you are asleep and pain-free. Surgery most often takes 2 to 3 hours. Your surgeon may choose from different techniques.
Your surgeon will make 3 to 5 small cuts in your belly. A thin tube with a tiny camera on the end is inserted through one of these cuts.
Surgical tools are inserted through the other cuts. The laparoscope is connected to a video monitor in the operating room.
Your surgeon does the repair while viewing the inside of your belly on the monitor.
The surgeon may need to switch to an open procedure in case of problems.