GERD can be annoying and even painful. But it is not a dangerous disease. For any GERD treatment to be worth trying, it needs to be very safe. For many people, especially those who have few problems taking medicine, surgery is not a good choice.
But when fundoplication surgery is successful, it may end the need for long-term treatment with medicine. When you are deciding between surgery and treatment with medicine, weigh the cost, risks and potential complications of the surgery against the cost and inconvenience of taking medicine.
Before surgery, additional tests will usually be done to be sure that surgery is likely to help cure GERD symptoms and to diagnose problems that could be made worse by surgery.
Second surgeries are harder to do, are less successful and are more risky. So it is extremely important that the first procedure be considered carefully and be done by an experienced surgeon who is more likely to be successful the first time.
Surgery to treat GERD is rarely done on people who:
- Are older adults, especially if they have other health problems in addition to GERD.
- Have weak squeezing motions (peristalsis) in the esophagus. These motions are important to move food down the esophagus to the stomach. Surgery may make this problem worse, causing food to get stuck in the esophagus.
- Have unusual symptoms that might be made worse by surgery.
In special cases, other surgeries such as partial fundoplication or gastropexy may be done instead of fundoplication surgery.
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