GORD (Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease) Surgery
Gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a chronic disease that occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter does not close properly and stomach contents leak back or reflux into the oesophagus.
The oesophagus is the swallowing tube that connects the mouth to the stomach which passes through the diaphragm from the chest into the abdomen. The oesophagus passes through the diaphragm at a point called the hiatus. Some people have a ‘hiatal hernia’ where the opening of the diaphragm is big enough to allow the stomach to pass up into the chest.
The stomach contains a large amount of acid and has its own protective mechanisms to protect itself from injury. The oesophagus however, is not equipped to prevent injury from prolonged exposure to acid from the stomach. When acid from the stomach finds its way into the oesophagus, it is usually cleared quickly by oesophageal contractions. If the acid is not cleared, then the symptoms of heartburn, chest pain, cough, difficulty swallowing, or regurgitation may occur. Eventually these episodes may lead to injury of the oesophagus.
The main symptoms of GORD are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Gastro oesophageal reflux can be treated with laparoscopic fundoplication surgery when medication and lifestyle changes do not help relieve symptoms.
Treatment Options – Surgery
This surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. It is a minimally invasive approach that involves the use of specialised video equipment and instruments that allow your surgeon to perform the procedure through four tiny incisions, most of which are less than a half-centimetre in size. Laparoscopic fundoplication involves wrapping the upper portion of the stomach around the base of the oesophagus to reinforce the strength of the lower oesophageal sphincter.
One advantage of this method is a brief hospitalisation. Most often it will require an overnight stay. Other advantages include less pain (reduced need for pain medication), fewer and smaller scars and a shorter recovery time.
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