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Sara Hennessy, M.D. Answers Questions On GERD Symptoms

Sara Hennessy, M.D. Answers Questions On: GERD Symptoms

When should people seek advanced treatment, such as surgery, for their GERD symptoms?

GERD is a digestive disorder that causes heartburn. This can feel like a burning, pressure or pain in the chest, neck, or throat, and/or a bitter or acid taste in the mouth. It’s also known as acid reflux.

The first line of treatment for GERD is of course medical therapy. However, you may need surgical treatment if you have “failed medical therapy.” This can include a patient whose symptoms are poorly controlled with medication, a patient who prefers not to take medical therapy, a patient who develops reflux induced asthma or chronic cough, or a patient who develops erosive esophagitis or precancerous changes in the esophagus.

What does surgery for GERD entail?

Surgery for GERD is called a Nissen fundoplication. It involves recreating the one-way valve that is meant to prevent acid reflux. This is accomplished by wrapping the very top of the stomach around the lower esophagus. The surgery is almost always done laparoscopically with an overnight hospital stay. At home patients typically need three to four weeks of recovery and will initially need to modify their diet, but as they recover, they can go back to eating normally.

Does surgery cure GERD?

Surgery is a cure for GERD, eliminating the need for life long medications.