All Eyes on Surgery for Acid Reflux

Acid reflux after surgery is down as more attention is paid to the surgical procedures

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Some obese patients with acid reflux still feel heartburn and nausea after seeking surgery to help. Thinking about going under the knife can be scary to begin with, and surgical procedures need to be done right.

A new study found that careful attention to how the surgery is done can greatly reduce symptoms of acid reflux up to 12 months after the operation.

"Dealing with acid reflux is tough - ask your doctor."

Obesity has been linked to gastro-esophageal reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux. By using bariatric surgery, which helps control and treat obesity, the problems that go hand-in-hand with obesity may be treated.

The study, led by bariatric surgeon Jorge Daes, MD, aimed to evaluate techniques involved in the procedure and its effect on acid reflux after the operation.

A total of 234 patients underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, which involves small incisions and insertion of plastic tubes into the stomach and abdomen, and stapling the stomach to make it smaller.

Before the operation, 66 of the participants were diagnosed with acid reflux. During the operation, hiatal hernia, in which the stomach sticks into the chest through the diaphragm, was detected in 34 of the participants and were immediately treated.

Patients were evaluated eight days after operation, then one, three, six, and 12 months afterwards.

The 134 patients who completed the follow-up were evaluated for the study. There were no resulting deaths or complications with the minimally invasive surgery.

One year after surgery, patients lost an average of 73.5 percent of their extra body weight, researchers found. At six and 12 months after the operation, only two (or 1.5 percent) of patients still had acid reflux.

None of the patients with small hernias had recurring acid reflux after surgery.

This new attention to the surgery's procedure addresses several of the problems that caused acid reflux after the operation, according to the authors.

The authors note that only patients who continued to have symptoms of acid reflux had endoscopy after the operation, which detected any recurring hernias. The results from this surgical team may be different if other surgical teams are involved.

Further, the study did not observe or include any other surgical procedure. Results can only be compared with previous studies, but which this can lead into future investigations.

The authors declare no financial or other conflicts of interest.

The study was published online Aug. 23 in Obesity Surgery

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 27, 2012
Last Updated:
August 29, 2012