The gastroesophageal reflux occurs when stomach contents back into the esophagus and throat, and may even reach the mouth. It consists mainly of gastric juice, extremely acidic, which is responsible for digestion.
When reflux occurs, the person manifests symptoms such as heartburn and burning, because the acids cause aggressions in the esophageal tissues, which do not have the same protection as the stomach. Thus, over time there may be complications such as the formation of ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus.
There are treatment options for gastroesophageal reflux, surgery being one of them. In this article we will explain when it is necessary to resort to this procedure to treat the problem and how this technique works. Keep reading to learn more!
Check out the main causes and treatment of Barrett’s esophagus by clicking here!
When is reflux surgery necessary?
The treatment for reflux is adopted when the person has constant episodes of return of stomach contents. In this first moment, the doctor adopts conservative techniques to minimize the problem and avoid new crises.
Medicines are administered to control gastric juice production and improve stomach motility. Thus, digestion happens in an easier way. It is also recommended to make a change in diet, avoiding some substances and foods, preferring smaller portions more times a day, with an increase in the interval between dinner and bedtime, and lying down with an increase in the headboard.
Anyway, reflux surgery can be performed if the person is presenting complications, such as the ulcer mentioned above and Barrett’s esophagus. Also for those who have had reflux for a long time, with greater intensity or very frequent symptoms and who cannot go without medication. Still, the patient’s desire to have surgery can be considered. Sometimes , anti-reflux measures and medications are not enough to control reflux and surgery may be an option in selected cases.
How is gastroesophageal reflux surgery performed?
The technique most commonly used to perform reflux surgery is fundoplication performed by laparoscopy and known as Nissen surgery. This is because it is a less invasive procedure than open surgeries, presenting a faster recovery, with a more comfortable postoperative period.
The laparoscopic surgery is performed in a hospital with the patient under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes up to five small cuts in the upper abdomen where he will insert the surgical instruments and a small camera. It is with her help that she visualizes the place that must be operated , thus eliminating the need for major cuts.
Using this technique, the patient is usually discharged one day after surgery. In any case, it is necessary to respect the postoperative period, maintaining a rest of one or two weeks to return to work and respecting a diet that progresses slowly to normal food in a few weeks, as described below.
In order for recovery to happen faster, some recommendations are made during the post-operative period. One of them is, in the first days, to take short walks in order not to sit or lie down for a long time.
However, it is important to avoid more intense activities. In addition, weights should not be lifted, and daily exercise and activity can be progressed slowly, as directed by the doctor.
It is also important to keep the operated area clean and dry as recommended by the specialist. It is also necessary to make the correct administration of medications, such as painkillers.
Understand what gastroesophageal reflux is and how to prevent it by clicking here!
As for the diet, it is essential to follow the instructions of the specialist , since the surgery involved the digestive system. In the first, or even the second week, it is interesting to eat only liquids and gradually add creamy and easy to digest foods, gradually resuming normal eating.