Who should consider gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) surgery?

Steven Visnaw, DO
While most people have some form of reflux, surgery may be needed to treat acid reflux (GERD) for more extreme cases. Steven Visnaw, DO from Oak Hill Hospital, describes the surgery in this video.
Surgery to correct GERD is considered in younger patients to help them from a lifetime of ongoing reflux. Your doctor may consider surgery for you if GERD medications have not helped ease your symptoms, or if you want to stop taking medication.
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine

When medical management fails and severe GERD symptoms persist, patients may want to consider surgery. The standard surgery is called a Nissen fundoplication. For this surgery the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter. This is the valve that normally keeps the acid from backing up from the stomach to the esophagus. The surgery will strengthen this and repair a hiatal hernia if that is contributing to the problem.


For those patients in whom a medical regimen has not been successful, anti-reflux surgery can offer gratifying, lasting results for relief of GERD. While GERD can have several causes, surgery is most effective for those patients whose GERD is caused by a defective lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle connecting the esophagus with the stomach. In general, more than 90% of patients who undergo surgery have no reflux after surgery. Fundoplication, done as either an open or a laparoscopic procedure, treats the reflux by making a new valve mechanism at the lower esophagus as a barrier to reflux.
Surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should be considered in patients with well-documented reflux disease who cannot tolerate medications or continue to have regurgitation as a primary symptom. If symptoms persist despite medical treatment, a comprehensive evaluation should be completed prior to considering surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.