Reflux, which is commonly called heartburn, occurs when acidic gastric juices are allowed to flow up into the esophagus causing a painful burning sensation. There have been several very effective medicines introduced over the years including H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPI's). These medicines have greatly reduced the need for reflux operations with their low side effect profile and ease of use. However, there are still individuals that have issues with reflux in spite of being on maximal doses of these medicines and at times more than one. There are also people that are well controlled with the medicines but would prefer to not have to take them daily. These people are often referred for surgical consultation to discuss a procedure that stops the free flow of acid into the esophagus. There are several operations described and they all have different indications for their use. The most common one is the Nissen fundoplication. In the properly selected patient these operations are very effective in stopping symptoms of reflux.
At Southwest General Surgery we are generally able to perform these operations laparoscopically with a one night stay in the hospital. Relief is generally noted as soon as the operation is completed. We would be happy to discuss the options for surgical relief from reflux and start a work-up if indicated.