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Acid Reflux Surgery | Healthier Weight

Acid reflux (GORD) surgery

Linx Reflux Surgery

NEW LINX Reflux Surgery

95% patients experience significant improvement in reflux symptoms immediately after surgery

heartburn caused by acid reflux

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), more commonly known as heartburn or acid reflux, is a condition where stomach refluxes back into the lower part of the oesophagus (gullet).

Almost everyone has experienced heartburn at some point, in fact it's one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the world with 40% of adults reporting symptoms in any 6-12 month period. In most cases it lasts only a day or two, but for some, acid reflux can become a chronic, debilitating feature of daily life. 


What causes acid reflux?

At the lower end of the gullet a ring of muscle called the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) normally acts as a valve to prevent acid contents of the stomach leaking (refluxing) into the lower part of the oesophagus. However, if the LES fails to function properly, stomach acid and bile juices can flow into the oesophagus, giving rise to heartburn and other symptoms of GORD.

Unlike stomach cells which secrete a special mucous to protect them from acid digestion, the lining of the oesophagus has no such protection and is therefore vulnerable to the effects of acid and bile salts. This can result in inflammation and – if prolonged – ulceration and bleeding.

It is not known why the LES fails to work properly, but we know that GORD is more common in males, during pregnancy, smokers, heavy drinkers and in those who are obese. In addition, if you have a hiatus hernia (when part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm), you have an increased chance of developing reflux disease.


A Competent LOS


LOS functioning properly »

Acts as a barrier, preventing stomach acids from entering the oesophagus. No acid reflux symptoms

A Defective LOS


« LOS is weak

Fails to prevent stomach acid from flowing up into the oesophagus, causing the burning irritation symptoms of acid reflux

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Symptoms of Acid Reflux

  • Heartburn - an unpleasant burning feeling that rises from the upper abdomen or lower chest towards the neck. It is sometimes confused with pain from the heart (angina), though it has nothing at all to do with heart disease    
         

  • Other common symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen/ chest, feeling sick, acid taste in the mouth, bloating, excessive salivation, belching, and a burning pain when you swallow hot drinks. Like heartburn, symptoms come and go and tend to be worse after eating
        
  • Uncommon acid reflux symptoms can mimic other conditions hindering diagnosis eg
    • A persistent cough, particularly at night, due to refluxed acid irritating the windpipe. In 6-10% of patients, GORD is the underlying cause
    • Asthma symptoms of cough and wheeze
    • Chronic hoarseness due to acid damage to the voicebox
    • Mouth and throat symptoms eg gum inflammation, bad breath, sore throat, constant feeling of a lump in the throat
    • Severe chest pain may also occur in some cases (and may be mistaken for a heart attack)


Complications of prolonged acid reflux

  • Oesophagitis/ulcer – Inflammation and ulceration of the oesophagus may occur if reflux persists            
     
       

  • Anaemia - May occur due to loss of blood from the inflamed oesophagus
        
  • Oesophageal stricture – Scarring and narrowing of the oesophagus may occur, leading to difficulty swallowing
        
  • Barrett's oesophagus - Patients with longstanding GORD are at increased risk of developing Barrett’s oesophagus which can, in turn, lead to cancer of the oesophagus
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The cost of Acid Reflux Surgery

Spread the cost over 5 years with a flexible finance plan

Acid Reflux Treatment

Treatment for people who suffer from acid reflux / GORD varies depending on the severity and symptoms of their disease. Mild or occasional heartburn usually responds well to lifestyle modifications such as losing weight, stopping smoking and changes in dietary habits. However, if you have moderate to severe GORD, lifestyle changes alone may not be sufficient and your doctor may prescribe a course of anti-reflux medication:


Medication

For mild or infrequent bouts of heartburn, antacids (alkali liquids or tablets that neutralise the acid in the stomach) can be used to give quick, though temporary relief. There are many brands available, some of which are prescription only e.g. Rennies®, Alka-Seltzer®, Gaviscon®.

If your symptoms are persistent, you may be prescribed proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or histamine receptor blockers (H2 blockers), both of which block acid production in the stomach.  

  • H2 blockers: cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine and ranitidine. Limited effectiveness, only working for 8-12 hours so may not block acid secretion or give heartburn relief all day
         
  • PPIs: omeprazole, lansoprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, and esomeprazole. More widely used than H2 blockers as they last longer and are more potent at suppressing acid

It is important to note, however, that while these medications may reduce the symptoms associated with acid reflux, they do not treat the underlying cause. For some people, acid-suppressant treatment, even at maximum doses, is no longer sufficient to control their symptoms. If you are one of these, you may be thinking about a surgical option.

Surgery

There are 3 main anti-reflux procedures and when performed by our team of specialist surgeons, they can all deliver excellent outcomes. It is expected that 95% of reflux surgery patients will experience a significant improvement in their acid reflux symptoms.

LINX Bracelet

The LINX™ device is a "bracelet" of miniature magnetic beads which, when wrapped around the lower oesophagus, strengthen the LOS against refluxing acid

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fundoplication

The most common form of anti-reflux surgery in the UK but a complex procedure. It involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the oesophagus

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Gastric Bypass

Primarily a bariatric procedure but as acid from the bypassed stomach can no longer flow into the oesophagus, it also delivers excellent anti-reflux results

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Which acid reflux procedure is best for you?

If you are unsure which procedure will give you the best results for your reflux symptoms, read our comparison guide to see how the 3 procedures compare

Read more

For a personal reflux quotation, call 0845 128 0053 or complete our fast quote form

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