Acid reflux surgery Gold Coast
Acid reflux explained
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid travels back into your oesophagus, leaving a bitter or sour sensation in the throat and mouth. Occasional reflux is quite common, but when you experience it frequently – for example twice a week – it may be gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or GORD.
Common causes include a weakened lower oesophageal sphincter, which is the muscle that prevents stomach acid from moving up into the oesophagus. But other factors like obesity, being pregnant, or even our food and drink choices, think spicy foods or too much caffeine, can play a role. Certain medications, like aspirin or certain antihypertensives, can also be potential triggers.
GORD is also associated with the development of a hiatus hernia, where a section of the top of the stomach has moved through the diaphragm.
Symptoms of GORD include:
- A sour taste in your mouth,
- Have trouble swallowing,
These symptoms, especially heartburn, might worsen when you’re lying down, or bending over.
How is GORD diagnosed?
If you show symptoms consistent with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, we will ask for your medical history and perform a physical examination. Other tests include:
- X-ray: You will swallow a chalky liquid called barium. This helps your stomach and oesophagus show up better in the X-ray.
- Endoscopy: A thin, flexible tube with a small camera on the end is inserted through your mouth, allowing us to look inside your stomach and oesophagus.
- Oesophageal manometry: This test measures the pressure and muscle contraction in your oesophagus. Core Specialist Group is the only specialist clinic that offers this test on the Gold Coast.
Acid reflux surgeon Gold Coast
How is GORD treated?
GORD is initially treated without surgery. Typically, our first recommendation is dietary changes, supplemented by medications that reduce stomach acid. Only when this does not help, or when you prefer to have the condition fixed permanently rather than have to take medication indefinitely, acid reflux surgery may be your best option.
Acid reflux surgery
Acid reflux surgery is generally performed using laparoscopic surgery and takes about one to two hours. We begin by making a few small incisions – one at or near the navel and a few in the abdomen – to allow access for the surgical instruments. Then, we will create a new, functioning valve to replace the one that isn’t working properly. To do this, we wrap a section of the stomach either partially or all the way around the oesophagus.
It’s then securely stitched in place. Essentially, this wrapped part of the stomach now acts like a new valve, controlling the flow of stomach contents back into the oesophagus and helping to reduce symptoms of acid reflux.
This procedure is also called fundoplication or Nissen fundoplication. The aim is to:
- Repair the hiatus hernia (if there is one present).
- Artificially create a ‘substitute’ valve by wrapping a part of the upper stomach around the lower end of the oesophagus and securing it. This wrapped portion then works as the valve.
In 10% of procedures, the laparoscopic procedure needs to be converted to an open procedure, in which case the smaller incisions are closed and a larger incision is made to the upper abdomen.
Acid reflux Gold Coast, Lismore and Byron Bay
Core Specialist Group for acid reflux surgery
At Core Specialist Group, your health and comfort are our highest priority. If you have been told you may have gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, and are looking for compassionate and exceptional patient care, please get in touch with our friendly team. With consulting rooms in Tugun, Lismore (NSW) and Byron Bay (NSW), we aim to make you feel at ease in the lead up to your consultation and possible surgery.