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Fundoplication surgery is frequently used to treat GERD symptoms that are probably be caused simply with a hernia and that haven't been well controlled by medicines. The surgery could also be used for a lot of that do not have a hernia. Surgery may also be an option when:
Treatment with medicines doesn't completely relieve your symptoms, and the remaining symptoms are proved to be caused by reflux of stomach juices.
You do not want or, because of side effects, you cannot take medicines over a long period of time to control your GERD symptoms, and you are prepared to accept the risks of surgery.
You've symptoms that do not adequately improve when given medicines. Examples of these symptoms are asthma, hoarseness, or cough together with reflux.
How Well It really works
Research has shown that laparoscopic fundoplication improves GERD symptoms in about 6 to 9 out of 10 people who have the surgery (depending on how experienced the surgeon is). But no research has proven that laparoscopic fundoplication surgery works well to maintain healing of the esophagus in the long run.1
A successful surgery doesn't guarantee that you will never have symptoms again. Some research has shown that no more than 1 out of 10 those who have fundoplication surgery made by a skilled surgeon have symptoms return in the 2 years after surgery.2 But there is not much research how many people have symptoms come back after a lot more than 2 years.
But compared to people who don't have surgery, people who do have surgery are not as likely to want medicine every single day and also have less severe symptoms once they stop taking medicine. Also, people who have surgery for GERD seem to be happy with the results, even when their symptoms are available back and they have to consider medicine again.3
About 2 or 3 from 10 those who have surgery to relieve GERD symptoms have new problems (for example difficulty swallowing, intestinal gas, or bloating) after the surgery.2 These new symptoms may or may not respond to treatment with medicines.