Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Surgery
At A Glance: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Surgery
Also Known As
Acid Reflux Surgery, Heartburn Surgery, Fundoplication, TIF Surgery
Inpatient or Outpatient
Typical Recovery Time
2 Days – 6 Weeks
Typical Price Range
Tell Me About The Surgery
Procedure Research and Consultation
How is GERD surgery done?
GERD surgery is known as fundoplication, a procedure that strengthens the valve between your stomach and your esophagus. There are several types of GERD surgery, including: Laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure with small incisionsOpen surgery through a large incisionTransoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) surgery through a tube, with no incision required. Hancock Regional Hospital is one of only a few hospitals in Indiana offering TIF surgery.
What issue does GERD surgery solve?
GERD surgery is performed to treat chronic heartburn, also known as acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid leaks into your throat and can cause a burning pain in your chest or throat.
What is minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive surgeries involve smaller incisions and a less-invasive technique, shortening recovery time.
Do I have options for anesthesia GERD surgery?
GERD surgeries are performed with general anesthesia.
How do I know GERD surgery is right for me?
You might consider GERD surgery if more conservative approaches to dealing with acid reflux have failed and you’re continuing to experience symptoms, including sore throat, chronic cough, swallowing difficulty, interruption of your sleep, or a vocal disorder. Ask your doctor if GERD surgery might benefit you.
How safe is GERD surgery?
GERD surgery is generally safe and effective. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
What are possible side effects and complications of GERD surgery?
Most patients report some bloating after GERD surgery, and some report difficulty swallowing and/or diarrhea. Possible side effects of GERD surgery include an inability to belch, burp, or vomit, which may lead to bloating and flatulence. These symptoms should lessen over time.
What are the possible side effects of general anesthesia?
Some of the possible side effects of general anesthesia include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the IV), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness. In older patients, memory loss and temporary confusion are possible.
What are the alternatives to GERD surgery?
Many more conservative approaches can help you effectively manage acid reflux, the most conservative being changes in diet. Eating less-spicy and greasy foods, alcohol, and carbonated beverages can help. You can try eating smaller meals and cutting out late-night snacking. Losing weight and stopping smoking can help with acid reflux. There are also medications to treat acid reflux; ask your doctor if one may be right for you.
What are the risks of not having GERD surgery?
If left untreated, stomach acid can permanently damage esophageal tissue, leading to ongoing pain and inflammation and potentially resulting in esophagitis, esophageal ulcers, or bleeding.
What kind of outcome is typical for GERD surgery?
GERD surgery has a high success rate; about 95% of patients no longer need medication to treat their acid reflux after surgery.
Consultation and Choosing A Surgeon or Surgical Team
Do I need a referral to see a surgeon about GERD surgery?
Your health insurance provider may require you to get a referral from your primary care provider to see a surgeon about GERD surgery.
What should I bring to my first appointment with a surgeon to talk about GERD surgery?
Insurance information Medical records, including your medical history, from your primary care physician
Do I have to get a second or third opinion for GERD surgery?
You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required.
How should I decide which surgeon’s advice to follow?
You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not.
Will the surgical team know my health history?
Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we’ll work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
Why might I have to wait to schedule GERD surgery?
In some cases it takes time for a patient’s body to be ready for surgery—for example, if you have another medical issue including another surgical procedure or an illness—we might wait to schedule surgery. Your health and safety are our top priorities, so we schedule surgeries when they’re best for our patients.
Insurance & Cost
How much does GERD surgery cost?
Consult the Price Transparency Tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much GERD surgery might cost.
Will insurance cover GERD surgery?
In most cases, insurance will cover most of the costs associated with medically necessary GERD surgery. To get an idea of what GERD surgery might cost, use our Price Estimator Tool.
Will Medicare cover GERD surgery?
Medicare parts A and B will cover the cost of GERD surgery, but it’s important for your doctor to indicate that the surgery is medically necessary.
What are payment options like for GERD surgery at Hancock Health?
Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.
Pre-op and Day of Surgery
How should I prepare for GERD surgery?
You’ll be instructed not to eat anything after midnight on the day of your surgery, and you might also be told to stop taking certain medications or dietary supplements.
Why can’t I eat before surgery?
There’s a risk of aspiration, which means breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
What should I expect right before GERD surgery?
You’ll arrive an hour before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry, and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.You’ll meet your surgery team and they’ll mark the location of the surgery on your body. An I.V. (intravenous line) will be placed in your hand or arm, so medications—including general anesthesia—can be administered.When it’s time for your surgery, you will be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.
Will I need someone to take me home after GERD surgery?
For your safety and the safety of other motorists, you will need someone to drive you home. If you don’t have a ride, we’ll help you arrange one.
Why are there so many people on my surgery team?
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who will check you in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so the procedure is as successful as possible.
Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
What do I need to bring to the hospital the day of my GERD surgery?
If you’re having TIF surgery, you’ll probably go home the same day, but you might want to bring an overnight bag just in case. Laparoscopic and open fundoplication procedures will require a hospital stay: two or three nights for laparoscopic surgery and four to six nights for open surgery. If you’re having one of these procedures, you should bring everything you’ll need for that time, including changes of underwear, glasses or contacts, headphones, and your medications.
How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off?
It takes about an hour for general anesthesia to wear off, but you may notice the effects for a day or so.
What will happen during GERD surgery?
Fundoplication involves wrapping a part of the stomach around the base of the esophagus and tightening it with stitches to reinforce the valve and keep stomach acid where it belongs. If you’re having laparoscopic GERD surgery, your surgeon will make small incisions in your abdomen, one of which is for a tiny video camera through which the surgeon will view the procedure on a monitor. Tools are inserted through the other incisions to perform the operation, and your incisions will be sutured. If you’re having open GERD surgery, your surgeon will make one larger incision in your abdomen, pull back muscle and tissue, and perform the procedure, then suture the incision. The surgeon may insert a tube into your stomach to stabilize the stomach wall. The tube will be removed in about a week. If you’re having the TIF procedure, a flexible tube will be inserted through your mouth, which will allow the surgeon to perform fundoplication with special tweezers and fasteners, without making any incisions.
When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?
Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep your family updated. Following the procedure, your surgeon will talk with them in person.
How long will GERD surgery take?
GERD surgery typically takes two to three hours.
How long will I be under for GERD surgery?
You will be anesthetized during the entire procedure and a few minutes afterward.
How long will I be in the hospital after GERD surgery?
TIF surgery is an outpatient procedure. You should expect to spend two or three days in the hospital following laparoscopic GERD surgery and up to six days following open GERD surgery.
What can I expect right after GERD surgery?
Immediately following surgery, you’ll spend time in the recovery room and receive pain medication. If you’ve had TIF surgery, you’ll be released when you’re feeling well; you may have a sore throat or some minor chest pain. If you’ve had a laparoscopic or open procedure, you’ll be taken to your hospital room where you will be able to see friends or family who came with you.
How will I know if the GERD surgery worked?
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you. Successful surgery will relieve or greatly diminish your acid reflux symptoms.
When will I get to talk to my surgeon after surgery?
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon after your procedure, in the recovery room or your hospital room.
How soon after GERD surgery will I be up and moving around?
If you have the TIF procedure, you’re most likely to go home the same day. Other GERD procedures will require a multiple-day hospital stay.
Will I receive pain medication right after GERD surgery?
In most cases, patients receive pain medication immediately following surgery.
How soon after GERD surgery can I eat or drink?
After GERD surgery, you’ll be limited to clear liquids for 24 hours; full liquids for up to a week, and soft foods for about another week. You should be able to resume your normal diet after about three weeks.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after GERD surgery?
You may be prescribed pain medication, anticoagulants, antibiotics, and/or other symptom-reducing medications after surgery.
Recovery and Follow-Up
How should I prepare to recover from GERD surgery at home?
You should be able to return to fairly normal activity, including going up and down stairs, after your GERD surgery. Follow all postoperative instructions provided by your surgeon, including and especially all dietary restrictions. You should be able to return to a normal diet within a few weeks. Daily walks should help you in your recovery, but you should avoid strenuous exercise for a couple of weeks after surgery. Avoid lifting heavy objects for two to four weeks after surgery.
If I need physical therapy or rehabilitation after GERD surgery, how is that arranged?
Most people don’t need physical therapy or rehab following GERD surgery.
Will I need any follow-up appointments or procedures after GERD surgery?
You’ll have an appointment with your surgeon about two weeks after your surgery to check on results and discuss any issues you might be having.
Will there be any scarring or stitches to remove after GERD surgery?
In most cases, dissolvable stitches will be used and won’t need to be removed. If stitches need to be removed, your doctor will most likely remove them at your first postoperative appointment. There will be scars where the incisions were made.
What do I need to have to care for any wounds or incisions?
You’ll need fresh dressings but you won’t need antibiotic ointment, as putting it on the incisions is unnecessary.
How do I care for my incision at home?
Change your dressing daily, starting two days after you leave the hospital. Don’t scrub the incision area.You may remove your dressing and shower the day after your surgery if there is no drainage from your incision. Carefully pat the incision dry after your shower and reapply the dressing.For about two weeks, don’t submerge your incision in water by taking a bath or getting in a pool or hot tub. When the incisions are completely healed, feel free to resume those activities.
When should I call my doctor after GERD surgery?
Call your doctor if you experience fever or chills; redness, bleeding, or discharge around an incision; problems swallowing; or nausea or vomiting for more than 24 hours.
When will I be able to get back to work after GERD surgery?
You should be able to return to work a couple of days after TIF surgery. Recovery from laparoscopic or open GERD surgery could take between two and six weeks.
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