after reflux surgery

What To Expect After Reflux Surgery

Acid reflux surgery treats the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at their source. We perform this surgery laparoscopically, using small incisions and a tiny camera to make the changes needed to treat your acid reflux. After surgery, you may experience some pain or discomfort, and you will need to adjust your diet to minimize gas and aid recovery.

Here, we’ll discuss what to expect after reflux surgery.

Acid Reflux Surgery Recovery Time

Acid reflux surgery recovery times vary by the patient. Your recovery time will be determined by the type of surgery you have and your overall health. Laparoscopic surgery is much less invasive than open surgery, so most patients who have this type of procedure are able to return to normal life activities within a few weeks as opposed to a couple months.

Post Surgery Diet and Activity

One major component of GERD surgery recovery is diet.  Immediately after surgery, your diet will be limited to clear liquids for a couple of days, then you will proceed to a full liquid diet for a few meals.  Then you will be able to move to soft foods such as cooked vegetables, eggs, meat and fish that is moist, tender, and well cooked, soft cheeses, soups, and the like.  Avoid fatty, greasy, or spicy foods and anything that contains seeds or a peel.  Our office will give you further instructions on dietary guidelines during your pre-op appointment.

After surgery, eat more frequent, small meals to avoid overfilling your stomach.  Avoid drinking large amounts of liquids with meals. Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after eating and for at least two hours after the final meal of the day.  Avoid gassy foods (e.g. dried beans, cabbage and other cruciferous veggies, and carbonated drinks) since it will be harder to expel gas.  Do not drink through a straw or chew gum as this can cause you to swallow air.

You’ll also need to care for your incisions by keeping them dry for a few days and refraining from heavy lifting for the next couple of weeks.

Side Effects & Complications after Acid Reflux Surgery

While most people experience no complications after reflux surgery, there are some side effects that may occur. The most common of these include:

  • Gas-bloat syndrome – upper abdominal distension and discomfort caused by the inability to belch.
  • Difficulty or discomfort when burping
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Diarrhea

Those who experience these side effects find that they typically resolve within a few months after surgery.  In rare situations, reflux symptoms such as heartburn may return after surgery. If this happens, contact Dr. Malladi’s office as soon as possible for an examination.