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When to Consider Surgery for GERD

When to Consider Surgery for GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects millions of people all over the world. It occurs when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain. 

Though you can make lifestyle changes and take medication to help manage GERD, there are cases when surgery may be necessary. 

Our team of medical professionals, led by general and bariatric surgeon Aliu O. Sanni, MD, FACS, are acid reflux specialists., in practice at Eastside Bariatric & General Surgery in Snellville, Georgia.

We help you determine what steps to take next to treat your condition. Together, we evaluate several factors to find out if surgery is right for you.

When you might need surgery

Before we determine that surgery is the best solution for your GERD, we look at the following:

Inadequate symptom control

If you’ve been diligently following lifestyle modifications and taking medications as prescribed but still experience persistent and severe GERD symptoms, it may be time to consider surgery. Surgery can provide long-lasting relief by correcting any underlying structural issues that contribute to acid reflux.

Medication dependency

You may rely heavily on medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to manage your symptoms. But long-term use of PPIs can have side effects and may not be ideal for you. If you find yourself heavily dependent on medication or experiencing undesirable side effects, surgical intervention might be a viable alternative.

Esophageal complications

If GERD isn’t treated or managed well, it can lead to complications, such as esophageal stricture, Barrett's esophagus, or even esophageal cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions, we may recommend surgery to prevent further damage and improve your long-term prognosis.

Lifestyle limitations

Living with chronic GERD can significantly affect your quality of life. If you find that your symptoms restrict your daily activities, diet choices, or sleep patterns despite conservative measures, surgery can provide relief and restore your ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

Desire to discontinue medication

While medications can effectively manage your GERD symptoms, you may not want to rely on them in the long term. Surgery offers an alternative approach that can eliminate that need and provide you with a more permanent solution.

Younger age and good overall health

Surgery for GERD is generally considered more appropriate for younger individuals in good overall health. Surgery is an invasive procedure and requires a certain level of physical fitness to ensure a successful outcome. 

If you’re younger and in good health, surgery may be a reasonable option to explore.

Moving forward

We recommend surgery for GERD as a last resort after exhausting all nonsurgical treatments and lifestyle modifications. It’s essential to have a thorough evaluation and discussion with Dr. Sanni, who can assess your specific condition and recommend the most appropriate course of action.

We offer a minimally invasive procedure called the TIF (transoral incisionless fundoplication) procedure, which stops chronic heartburn and acid reflux disease. We can discuss this option with you during your consultation.

To schedule an appointment with us at Eastside Bariatric & General Surgery, reach out by phone or request a consultation through our online portal today.

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