Table of contents:
- How the surgery is performed
- What is recovery like
- What to eat after surgery
- Warning signs to go to the doctor
Surgery for gastroesophageal reflux is indicated when treatment with medication and dietary care does not bring results, and complications such as ulcers or the development of Barrett's esophagus, for example, begin to appear. In addition, the indication for surgery also depends on how long the person has had reflux, intensity and frequency of symptoms, and the person's willingness to undergo surgery to resolve the condition.
This surgery is performed under general anesthesia and through small cuts in the abdomen, and full recovery takes about 2 months, and in the first few weeks it is necessary to eat only liquids, which can lead to slight weight loss..
Check out the treatment options for reflux before surgery.
How the surgery is performed
Surgery for reflux is usually used to correct a hiatal hernia, which is the main cause of esophageal reflux and, therefore, the doctor needs to make small cuts in the region between the stomach and the esophagus to make the hernia repair.
Normally, the technique used is laparoscopy with general anesthesia, in which thin tubes are inserted through small cuts in the skin. The doctor can look inside the body and perform the surgery through a camera placed at the end of one of the tubes.
Surgery for reflux is quite safe, especially when performed laparoscopically, however, there is always a risk of complications such as bleeding, thrombosis in the lower limbs, infection at the cut site or trauma to organs close to the stomach.In addition, as anesthesia is required, complications related to anesthesia may also arise.
Depending on the severity, these complications can lead to the need for the person to be operated on again through conventional surgery, performed with a large cut in the abdomen, instead of the laparoscopic procedure.
What is recovery like
Recovery from reflux surgery is fast, with little pain and few risks of infection, and the patient is usually discharged 1 day after surgery and can return to work after 1 or 2 weeks. However, for faster recovery, it is recommended:
- Avoid driving for at least 10 days;
- Avoid having intimate contact in the first 2 weeks;
- Do not lift weights and resume physical exercises only after 1 month or after the doctor's approval;
- Take short walks at home throughout the day, avoiding prolonged sitting or lying down.
In addition, it is recommended to go back to the hospital or go to the he alth post to treat the wounds from the surgery. In the first 2 days it is important to bathe only with a sponge to avoid wetting the dressings, as it increases the risk of infection.
During recovery, your doctor may also recommend the use of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or pain relievers to reduce discomfort.
What to eat after surgery
Due to pain and difficulty in swallowing, it is advisable to follow this type of schedule:
- Feed only with liquids during the 1st week, which may extend to the 2nd week, according to the patient's tolerance;
- Switch to a soft diet from the 2nd or 3rd week on, eating well-cooked foods, purees, minced meat, fish and shredded chicken;
- Gradually start a normal diet, as tolerated and approved by the doctor;
- Avoid carbonated drinks during the first few months, such as soda and carbonated water;
- Avoid foods that produce gas in the intestines, such as beans, cabbage, eggs, peas, corn, broccoli, onions, cucumbers, turnips, melons, watermelon and avocados;
- Eat and drink slowly, to avoid bloating and stomach pain.
The feeling of pain and a full stomach can lead to weight loss due to reduced food intake. In addition, it is also common to experience hiccups and excess gas, and medication such as Luftal may be necessary to reduce these symptoms.
See more details about reflux feeding.
Warning signs to go to the doctor
In addition to the follow-up appointment, a doctor should be consulted if there is a fever above 38ºC, severe pain, redness, blood or pus in the wounds, frequent nausea and vomiting, fatigue and frequent shortness of breath and/or pain abdominal pain and persistent swelling.
These symptoms may indicate complications from the surgery, and it is recommended to go to emergency care to treat and prevent further complications.