GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is an illness that affects the lower oesophageal sphincter. It is what blocks the food from coming back up the oesophagus and out of the mouth. With GERD, the sphincter weakens, making it harder for it to block the food from coming back up. The acids from the stomach can irritate the lining of the oesophagus, with heartburn, coughing and a sour taste in the mouth as symptoms. Laparoscopic surgery is a type of surgery that does not require making a large opening in the abdomen, and anti reflux surgery London doctors create a valve mechanism at the bottom of the oesophagus to treat GERD.
When does laparoscopic surgery become an option?
Doctors treat mild cases of GERD with prescription medication. But if the drug fails to cure GERD, the Nissen fundoplication is what surgeons perform for long-lasting relief. Not all people can undergo Nissen fundoplication. Only those who have not had previous abdominal surgeries, small hiatal hernias and those who are suffering from most GERD symptoms have the surgery. The Nissen fundoplication does not last long. After about an hour or so, you can start your recovery.
Recovering from Nissen fundoplication
Here are some of the things that you can expect post-surgery:
• Pain near your shoulder up to two days after surgery. This is where the incision will be.
• Swallowing may become a task for up to six weeks.
• Your belly will cramp.
• You will feel a little bloating, which can last up to two months.
• You will pass more gas as you recover, and may carry on for a long time.
• Burping may not feel as relieving as before the surgery.
• You will feel fuller faster, as the stomach gets smaller after surgery. But after several months, it will go back to its original size, and you can eat the normal amount of food you usually take.
Caring for yourself
Self-care is essential post-op. Here are some things you can do for yourself for faster recovery.
• Do not over-exert yourself. Rest as soon as you feel tired and get enough sleep.
• Go walking. Increase your distance each day.
• Avoid lifting objects up to 2 weeks after a laparoscopic surgery or 6 weeks after open surgery.
• Do not engage in exercises that use abdominal muscles.
• Stay on a soft diet for the first week after surgery.
• Have frequent smaller meals rather than fewer large meals.
• Avoid carbonated drinks.
• Take your post-op medicines religiously.
• Take pain medications only as instructed; do not self-medicate.
• If you have strips on the incision, leave them be until they fall off.
• Wash the incision daily with warm water.
Recovering from the surgery does not indicate that you don’t have to go to your doctor for post-op care and assessment. Be vigilant with your appointments, as they can help speed up your recovery. It is important to notice any unusual symptoms after your surgery that may mean that you need emergency care, such as passing out and being short of breath. If you feel any of these, call an ambulance right away.
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