If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a hiatal hernia, you may need surgery to treat your condition. While surgery won’t be the first step in your treatment plan, you may become a candidate for surgery if medications and other medical interventions aren’t working.
At OakBend Medical Group, bariatric surgeons Christopher Reilly, MD, FACS, Steven Thomas, MD, and Genna Lubrano, MD, specialize in minimally invasive surgeries for weight loss and the treatment of both GERD and hiatal hernias.
If medications and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to keep your symptoms under control, it’s important that you understand your options for surgical treatment.
What to know about GERD
Acid reflux describes the backflow of stomach acids into your esophagus. When you have chronic acid reflux, it’s known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
If left untreated, GERD can cause irritation in the lining of your esophagus. You may also develop sores or precancerous lesions in the esophageal lining.
In some cases, stomach acids can also cause the formation of scar tissue in your esophagus, which narrows the space and causes swallowing difficulties.
An overview of a hiatal hernia
A hiatal hernia occurs when one of your internal organs, usually your stomach, pushes through a weak spot in the wall of your diaphragm. You may be prone to this type of hernia if you do a lot of heavy lifting or if your muscles are weakened by age. Other risk factors for a hiatal hernia includes:
- Family history
- History of smoking
- Autoimmune diseases
You may also develop a hiatal hernia if you experience trauma to your diaphragm from an injury or surgery.
Initially, you may not be bothered by a hiatal hernia. However, as the condition progresses, you may experience heartburn, GERD, difficulties swallowing, and persistent chest or abdominal pain.
Nissen fundoplication surgery for GERD relief and hiatal hernia repair
Nissen fundoplication is a surgical procedure to treat both GERD and a hiatal hernia. The goal of surgery is to tighten the muscle (sphincter) at the bottom of your esophagus, so stomach acids can’t move back through your esophagus.
In the treatment of a hiatal hernia, our surgeons will reposition your stomach or other organ into its original location and repair the weak spot in your diaphragm. Tightening the lower esophageal sphincter will also reduce your risk for additional herniation.
We use minimally invasive surgical techniques to complete a Nissen fundoplication. This means you can heal faster than you might after traditional surgery and have less risk for post-surgical complications and scarring.
Candidates for Nissen fundoplication
You might be a candidate for Nissen fundoplication surgery if you have symptoms of a hiatal hernia or GERD that you can’t treat with medications and other conservative therapies.
Our providers at OakBend Medical Group will review your medical history and the severity of your symptoms to determine if surgery is right for you. We can also discuss your options for weight loss surgery if obesity is a contributing factor to your GERD symptoms or hiatal hernia.
To learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive Nissen fundoplication, call OakBend Medical Group to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.