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Acid Reflux / GERD Message Board

Acid Reflux / GERD Board Index

Hi, I'll follow Jane's response in formatting mine. I had a laproscopic Nissen Fundoplication in 2008 after traditional medical treatment and lifestyle changes no longer kept my severe LPR/GERD under control.

1. Based upon studies I researched, there are very few 10 year research studies out there. The results I encountered for studies that had been conducted indicated that at 10 years, 90% of people were symptom free, 9% were taking PPI's, and 7% had undergone revision surgery.

2. I went back to work at the 2 week mark. I was on a liquid only diet for the first two weeks and wanted to go back when I was able to ingest real food, alibet a soft food diet. I was still moving a bit slower, but I'd been moving around fairly well after the first week. I did return to work with a lifting restriction for the first couple months though. I would guess your ability to return to work would largely depend of the type of work you do. I did fine in an office environment, but I would have needed more time for a more physical environment.

I actually flew on a plane 2 days after the surgery to recoup with family. I was out and about walking within a week. I was very slow that first week and gradually built up capacity and speed.

I did have a lot of core pain, especially on the left side, and it took me about a week to get from a supine to upright position and back down by myself. I had tons of trouble getting in and out of bed during that time. I haven't seen others on here who had that same problem though.

3. It does take several months to get to a full "normal". At this point, I frequently forget I ever had the surgery. I would advise avoiding bread and meat for at least 8 weeks though. Swallowing those foods which don't break down well when chewed can be difficult and it can cause some discomfort if the food gets stuck above the wrap. It also takes a bit of time to get back to eating "normal" size meals also. I stuck with smaller amounts for a while after the surgery.

3. Once you get back to feeling "normal", you will probably be able to eat whatever you want. It really will depend on whether or not you have other related digestive issues. Just remember, the surgery doesn't change the amount of acid your stomach is producing. It just helps create more of a "barrier" to the acid coming up. Since they can't totally close off your esophagus from having acid come up, there is still a chance you may have some occassional problems. If you eat a lot of your trigger foods, there may be a chance for some break through. That doesn't always happen though. I had a bit of a problem with some gaseous acid making it up about a year after my surgery. I'm not having problems with that now, but I did adjust my diet during that period though.

I have no problems at all with holiday dinners. Steak is fine now (just don't try until after about 3 months), but I still cut my pieces a bit smaller and chew my bites well. Beer and wine were two of my worst triggers. I still avoid them. I had unusually severe acid reflux problems though so I may be atypical in that regard. I'd certainly give it a try when you recoup. Just try it in small quantities to begin with.

5. They should pretty much disappear. My symptoms were primarily an irritated throat, chronic cough, asthma and difficulty breathing. My cough disappeared from the moment I woke up. I've been able to go off of all of my asthma meds since the surgery. I have remained on PPI's, but that is due to other acid related digestive issues.

My overall experience: I would choose to have this surgery again in a heartbeat if I had to do it over again. My reflux had literally become life-threatening in addition to having a significant impact on my quality of life.

The surgery will take a while to totally heal from. I had some minor issues in the months after surgery and I was told they were normal. My GI doc explained that my stomach was "angry" having been traumatized by the surgery and it takes up to 3 months for all of the swelling to completely go down.

I agree with Jane. Make sure you have all of the appropriate testing done. People with esophageal motility disorders don't typically do well after the surgery.

Good luck if you choose to go this route.
[QUOTE=Stockster;4979597]Hi Everyone,

As my acid reflux gets worse, seems like it's daily, I have now been getting achy molars and sore gums from the acid in my throat and mouth. This being said, I am staring the research process of potentially getting the Nissen surgery and would really appreciate anything those who have had the surgery can comment on.

I know it's a serious surgery and should not be taken lightly, but in the end it has to be a consideration when I'm miserable daily and the reflux is getting worse. I'm already on 2 X 40 mgs Nexium a day and supplement with the occasional Gaviscon when needed (Plus chinese herbs from my Cinese Dr., plus some supplements from my naturopath). I'm a healthy 36 yr old 5'10 and 175 lbs and pretty lean and athletic.

1) the avg lifespan of the surgery is around 10 years. So what does this mean in terms of what happens after the surgery fails over time, or if the stomach stretches to the point where I reflux is again? Would I have to get a second Nissen? And what are the complications of that 2nd procedure? Being 36 now, I would expect that if everything goes well, that I would need another one between 46-50.

2) When you have the surgery, how long does the average person need to recover enough to work? I am a sales guy and will need to get back to the office asap. I suspect at least a week and a half, but then what... Can you move around normally after the initial healing and look somewhat normal?

3) after the healing is done (approx 3 months), do you feel normal? like when you did before you had GERD? Can you play golf and be active without feeling weird in the stomach area?

4) after surgery can you eat somewhat normally? Drink beer, or wine, have steak, or eat a thanksgiving/Christmas turkey dinner normall?

5) all this uncontrollable burping and hickupps. will it go away , or at least be reduced?

Thanks everyone. i look forward to reading your responses[/QUOTE]

I had my Nissen Fundo 15 years ago with complete and total long term success. I can belch and I can vomit without damage to the wrap.

1.) You are incorrect in your assertion that the Nissen Fundoplication needs to be "redone" based on age alone. To the contrary, my surgeon stated that the stitches holding the wrap together and in place actually get stronger over time. Most "failures" of the wrap occur within the first two years, post-op. The life span of the surgery is potentially the life span of the patient.

2.) The recovery times vary depending on whether you get the "open" vs "laparoscopic procedure. I had the laparoscopic Nissen Fundo and I was back out on the street (in field sales) four days after the surgery. My movements and activities were normal immediately after getting back to my sales work; with the exception of eating restrictive "soft meals" for 4.5 months and occasional painful "muscle spasms" (lasting two minutes or less) of my esophagus for a period of 18 months post-op. The muscle spasms mimicked a heart attack but didn't scare me at all because I knew I my heart was fine. My surgeon avoided the "short floppy" and instead used the standard Nissen Fundoplication procedure with a wrap junction of 5 centimeters in length. This long wrap makes for a stronger newly created "sphincter muscle" supporting the LES muscle, which I view as being a "good thing." The down side of using the standard length Nissen wrap is that right after being released from the hospital, I had to make two trips to the emergency room in order to have my surgeon "clear" scrambled eggs that got stuck in my esophagus.

3.) I exercise vigorously and lift weights at a health club. Immediately after my Laparoscopic Nissen surgery, I resumed my full schedule of activities with no difficulty or abnormal pain. I had to sleep on my back (instead of my stomach) for six weeks because the five small incision points were very tender and sore. Initially, two of these incision points felt like I was being poked with a red-hot branding iron from an open hearth fire.

4.) Comfortably Eating foods like steak or turkey were out of the question for me; at least for the first four months, post-op. I had to be very careful when eating at public places like restaurants. If I was not careful in eating small pieces and chewing food especially well; food would get stuck going down. I would often have to run to the restroom to "force clear" myself - usually with great difficulty and pain. Breads and heavy doughs were especially troublesome in getting stuck. Most people tend to loose weight during the first six months after surgery because eating your favorite foods is a major hassle if not totally impossible. I lost 35 pounds during the first four months after my surgery.

5.) I never had any uncontrollable burping or hiccuping at any time.

In life, I believe the axiom, "no pain, no gain." The long-term relief and improved quality of life afforded me by having this Nissen surgery makes the initial pain I suffered nothing more than a "walk in the park." Although I never want to experience the same grief from getting food stuck and having severe esophageal muscle spasms, I feel my decision was the right one.

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