It’s estimated that 20% of adults suffer from chronic acid reflux. Although initial treatment consists of medication and lifestyle changes, when your acid reflux becomes a long-term problem, surgery may be recommended to relieve your pain and prevent serious health problems. When you need surgery for acid reflux, Earl McAllister, MD, FACS, uses his expertise in the medical condition and anti-reflux surgery to help you choose the best minimally invasive procedure. If you have ongoing heartburn or have a hard time swallowing, call Florida Medical Clinic in Tampa, Florida, or book a consultation online.
Acid reflux occurs when undigested food and stomach acid flow backward, coming out of your stomach and up into your esophagus. A round muscle located where the esophagus meets your stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), normally relaxes to let food into the stomach, then tightly closes to prevent reflux. When the LES is weak or it relaxes when it shouldn’t, you end up with acid reflux.
When acid reflux becomes chronic, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD puts you at risk for serious problems, as ongoing exposure to stomach acid irritates your esophagus and causes inflammation, ulcers, esophageal narrowing, and precancerous changes.
Acid reflux, or heartburn, is considered to be GERD when you have mild acid reflux twice a week or moderate-to-severe reflux at least once a week. The symptoms caused by acid reflux include:
Acid reflux often strikes at night and disrupts your sleep. In some patients, reflux may trigger an asthma attack.
The first line of treatment includes over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and other medications to reduce acid production in your stomach. Acid reflux also improves when you lose weight if needed.
When conservative treatments fail to improve your symptoms, or when you can’t tolerate medication, the next step is surgery. As an expert in acid reflux and the surgical techniques used to treat the condition, Dr. McAllister can help you decide which treatment is best for your health.
Dr. McAllister often performs two minimally invasive surgeries to treat acid reflux:
This procedure, also called Nissen fundoplication, treats acid reflux and is done to repair a hiatal hernia. Dr. McAllister wraps the top of your stomach around the LES, which tightens the muscle and prevents reflux.
The LINX device is a flexible band of magnetic titanium beads. Using minimally invasive surgery, Dr. McAllister places the beads around the esophagus just above the stomach, where they allow swallowing, yet their magnetic attraction is strong enough to help the LES stay closed.
When you develop chronic acid reflux, call Florida Medical Clinic or schedule a consultation using online booking.