Laparoscopic Surgery for GERD in Atlanta

Laparoscopic surgery is a surgical technique that uses a tiny video camera and specialized instruments inserted into the body through several small incisions. These incisions are less than half an inch in length, and the entire surgery is performed without the need for a traditional long incision. For this reason, laparoscopic surgery is also known as minimally invasive surgery.

With the aid of the tiny camera in the laparoscope, the surgeon views the operation site on a monitor while manipulating instruments inserted through the small incisions. While laparoscopic procedures are often more technically challenging than traditional open procedures, the benefits to the patient far outweigh the additional difficulty for the surgeon.

Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery

  • Smaller incisions result in less discomfort after the operation
  • Recovery time is reduced
  • Hospital stays are shorter
  • Patients have fewer activity restrictions and return to work faster
  • Cosmetically appealing to patients because scars are smaller and easily concealed
  • Less internal scarring and blood loss

Laparoscopic Surgery for Acid Reflux

When lifestyle changes and medication fail to adequately control chronic heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), surgical treatment may be necessary. Surgery resolves most GERD symptoms, and helps patients return to a near normal life.

Nissen fundoplication is the surgical procedure most frequently used for treating GERD. Since it was first performed in 1951, many thousands of people have successfully undergone this procedure. With the development of laparoscopic techniques, Nissen fundoplication is usually performed as a minimally invasive procedure, providing the same results for the patient along with less discomfort and a shorter recovery time.

Nissen fundoplication is designed to prevent stomach acids refluxing through the valve between the esophagus and the stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). By wrapping the upper portion of the stomach (fundus) around the base of the esophagus, Dr. Hayes strengthens the LES, allowing it to function more normally.

Many GERD patients also have a condition called a hiatal hernia. In this condition, the upper portion of the stomach protrudes through the muscular layer called the diaphragm that separates the abdomen from the upper chest. Dr. Hayes will normally repair a hiatal hernia while performing Nissen fundoplication.

What to Expect After Nissen Fundoplication for GERD

Nissen fundoplication significantly improves GERD symptoms in 80-90% of people. While a successful surgery does not guarantee that symptoms of GERD will never return, research shows that 9 out of 10 people remain symptom-free two years after surgery. Depending on the extent of esophageal damage, patients can often discontinue or reduce their GERD medications.