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Laparoscopic anti reflux surgery

1. What is GERD?

GERD stands for gastro esophageal reflux disease. It is caused as result of reflux of acid produced in the stomach into the food pipe through a defective valve.

2. What are the symptoms?

The patient complaints of bloating, heartburn, sour taste in mouth, nausea and cough. Sometimes, liquid or even solid food can come to the mouth because of reflux. The symptoms occur after heavy meals or spicy/oily food. They can occur at night when patient is sleeping.

3. How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis is suspected by the clinical history and confirmed by doing an upper GI endoscopy. This would show the presence of a lax sphincter at the GE junction with or without hiatal hernia.

4. What is the treatment of GERD?

Initially, patients are started on medical treatment with drugs which lower acid production and decrease reflux. They are also advised to modify their lifestyle and eating behavior to minimize symptoms.

5. Who are the patients who require surgery?

Patients who have severe, chronic reflux symptoms, lifestyle impairment, not responding to medical treatment or complications like ulcers or difficulty in swallowing food may require surgery.

6. What is the surgery for GERD and how is it performed?

The operation for GERD is fundoplication. It is almost always performed laparoscopically. It consists of wrapping the upper portion of stomach around the lower esophagus to create a new valve which prevents reflux.

7. How long does the surgery take and what is the length of stay?

The operation takes around 90-120 minutes to perform and the length of stay is around 3-4 days.

8. What kind of diet is advised after surgery?

The patient is kept nil per oral for 24 hours after the operation. Initially, clear liquids are started and they can take soft diet subsequently which is continued for 2 weeks following the surgery.