Anti-reflux surgery may be needed if you have excessive heartburn and you have been diagnosed with Reflux Disease or GORD (Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease). If you need expert surgery, you can count on our highly qualified and experienced surgeons at The Surgeons Collective in Perth. And you can count on our support, to clarify and organise your treatment plan and to offer you support and genuine care.
How does anti-reflux surgery work?
Laparoscopic fundoplication is most commonly performed via keyhole technique and involves using the upper portion of the stomach (known as the fundus) to “wrap” ( “-plication”) around the lower oesophagus. This aims to re-create and strengthen the valve-like function of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) to prevent reflux of gastric acid juice or bile fluid up into the oesophagus, causing heartburn. It’s not uncommon for a hiatal hernia might be present which may contribute to your heartburn symptoms. During anti-reflux surgery, the hiatal hernia will be routinely repaired at the same time.
Our surgeons perform different types of anti-reflux surgery depending on individual patients conditions and surgeon preference.. At The Surgeons Collective we value clear communication and as we obtain the results of your routine tests and explain them to you, we will always discuss the various treatment options with you as well as clarify your surgeon’s recommendations or preferred treatment options. The goal is to offer you the most suitable type of surgery with the best possible surgical outcomes.
What is a hiatal hernia repair?
Hiatal hernias occur when the muscle in this area weakens, becomes stretched and widens, thereby allowing the stomach to protrude upwards into the chest cavity. In mild cases this does not usually cause any symptoms. But if it becomes bigger, as a patient you can experience symptoms such as heartburn. This is because the muscle around the hiatus (or known as crus) helps in the valve function of the lower oesophagus to prevent reflux.
Much larger hiatal hernias, also called “Giant Hiatal Hernias” occur when the entire stomach slips into the chest cavity.
In severe cases other organs such as the spleen, small or large bowel also protrude into the chest cavity.
Hiatus Hernia repair surgery is most commonly performed via laparoscopy and it involves:
- Returning the slipped stomach and/or other involved organs back to its normal location into the abdominal cavity.
- Repairing the hiatal hernia using non-absorbable surgical sutures. Sometimes, a “mesh” is used in certain circumstances to help strengthen the repair and reduce risk of recurrence of the hernia.
- “Fundoplication” - using the upper portion of the stomach (known as the fundus) to form a “wrap” around the lower oesophagus to re-create a “valve” to help reduce reflux after your surgery.
Sometimes, especially in very large hiatal hernias, open surgery may be the safest option. Your surgeon will always look at the total of the available information: your personal situation, your medical history, previous surgery, and the safest and most comfortable treatment options. As a team of experienced surgeons and specialised doctors, our commitment is to never give up on your health and to support you throughout the process: from the tests that will clarify your diagnosis, to supporting you during your stay at the hospital and planning your recovery.
What is an endoscopy?
An endoscopy is a procedure with a flexible tube and a camera, to diagnose your condition when you suffer from excessive reflux. The endoscopy procedure is used mainly as part of the routine tests, to establish a clear diagnosis and to make recommendations about your anti-reflux surgery.
In some cases, an endoscopy may also be used to perform a biopsy prior to the anti-reflux surgery. In that case, the endoscope has small instruments attached to it, and a tissue sample is analysed in the lab. The tests we recommend have one goal: to collect the exact information we need to provide a clear diagnosis, so we can help you make a well informed decision about your surgery and other treatment options.
The tests we plan for you prior to your anti-reflux surgery have a clear goal: to determine the exact type of hiatus hernia surgery that you need. The routine tests may include a pH study and manometry tests (to assess the oesophageal sphincter pressure). We are committed to delivering the most optimal surgical outcome, and that’s why we tailor your surgery to suit your individual situation.
Genuine care after your surgery
That includes the continuous efforts of our dietitians to support patients before and after their surgery, with personalised dietary recommendations. This matters because your diet choices not only help reduce the discomfort after your surgery, they are also important to optimise your recovery. Lifestyle changes and dietary modifications will help in achieving better results from surgery.
After an anti-reflux surgery our dietitians will typically prescribe a fluid diet for a couple of days. After that and for up to 4 weeks, you will be advised to stick to a soft diet. At any time, you can count on us to support you and to guide you, so we create the best possible outcome with minimal discomfort. If you have any questions about anti-reflux surgery, please contact our friendly reception team at The Surgeons Collective in Perth.