‘Gastro oesophageal Reflux Disease’ refers to abnormal amounts of acid produced by the stomach coming up the oesophagus and causing typical symptoms such as heartburn or acid taste in the mouth, which can be aggravated by fatty foods, alcohol, eating large meals, and lying down or bending over after eating.
This occurs because the normal mechanisms that prevent acid reflux have failed – usually due to age, genetics, stretching of the tissues, weight gain and, rarely, trauma.
Over time the acid damages the oesophagus and can lead to narrowing/scarring or potentially even precancerous or cancerous changes.
Anti-acid medication reduces the production of acid, which means the reflux liquid does not cause as much damage. However, if the antiacid medication is not taken, all the symptoms return. In some cases the medication might help but not completely make the symptoms go away. This is because medication does not address the anatomical reasons for reflux. Surgery, on the other hand, aims to correct these factors to get rid of the reflux, allowing patients to get off these tablets.
A procedure called fundoplication is the most common type of anti-reflux surgery. During this procedure your surgeon will:
There is no waiting list. If you wish, your operation can usually be performed within a week or two or planned at a time of your choosing. For most patients with full private health insurance there will be some extra costs not covered by Medicare or your health fund. The cover provided by your health fund will vary according to which fund and which level of cover you are on and in some cases you may have to pay an “excess”. It is your responsibility to check with your health fund prior to surgery. Full financial details will be provided to you prior to surgery. Occasionally other tests, procedures or specialist consultations may be necessary and some other costs incurred.
Public hospital waiting lists are very long and the surgery is usually carried out by trainee surgeons under the supervision of one of the specialist surgeons appointed by the hospital. There is no choice of surgeon in the Public Hospital and your LapSurgery Australia surgeon cannot not be involved in your operation.
If you do not have private health insurance, you can expect to have a high out of pocket costs. Following your consultation with our surgeon our staff will be able to give you an informed financial consent prior to going ahead with surgery.
Hospitals used by LapSurgery Australia for this surgery are: