Lap Nissen Surgery

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Buckeyefan
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/3/2010 9:39 AM (GMT -6)   
I have recently been diagnosed with GERD. My doctor wants me to have the Lap nissen surgery. I am scheduled to have it monday and am feeling a little nervous about after reading a lot of the horror stories on the internet. I do not get heartburn from my GERD, my acid just stays in my oesophagus. I have a small hiatal hernia. My Gerd goes up and down, I can feel great for a few months with no issues then it just flares up and I am out of commission for a couple days. I had the Endoscopy and PH study and my surgeon says my cells are showing cellular changes but not in a cancerous stage but would be in the long term. Do you think its smart to have the surgery? The doctor says yes because I am only 24 and will recover much easier, and it will prevent any further issues to come. I see that a lot of people complain of not being able to ever vomit or burp again. I had a few questions if anyone with knowledge or experience of the surgery could answer.

Can you eventually go back to normal Eating Habits?

Is burping and Vomiting gone forever? The Dr. assure me that it was not.

I am only 24 years old, will I be able to have an alcoholic beverage ever again if I have the surgery?

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6867
   Posted 12/3/2010 11:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Buckeyfan,
First, are you positive that your surgeon is highly qualified, and has done hundreds of successful Nissen surgeries? When a carpenter sees a nail, he gets a hammer. A surgeon's first inclination is to do surgery.

Have you been on PPI's (Prilosec, Protonix, Nexium, etc.) and found them not helpful? Medications would be your first line of defense.

Don't get me wrong. I had the surgery and am very happy I did. However, you are right not to take surgery lightly.

Yes, you can get back to eating normally, and can drink alcohol. It will take nearly four months before you're eating pretty much like you did prior to surgery. There will always be some quirky things due to the new wrap, but those of us who have had the surgery performed by great surgeons have improved our quality of life tremendously.

Many infants and small children have this surgery, and it has been done for over 50 years--the laproscopic version maybe 15 years.

I agree with your surgeon that at your age, you want to be sure that you take care of your esophagus, but if you haven't tried medications at fairly high doses first, I personally think you should explore that first.

Don't worry about the negative posts on the internet. Many of those people had inexperienced surgeons, who did not do the procedure properly. Keep in mind that most people who have this surgery never post anything online. They just go happily on with their lives. If you look at medical journal articles, you'll see that the success rate is very high.

No surgeon should consider doing the surgery until you have had a barium swallow, manometry study, endoscopy, and PH monitor. Some require a stomach emptying study as well.

I hope you are able to find answers to your questions, and can feel comfortable with any decision you make.

Please feel free to ask lots of questions, and read posts on this forum. I have found it to be the most active, reasonable, and helpful forum on the subject.
Good luck!
Denise

Buckeyefan
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/3/2010 11:43 AM (GMT -6)   
I appreciate the information. My GERD is different in the fact that it doesn't bother me all the time. It seem that it comes and goes but when it comes it is horrible. I was taking dexilant for two months, and then had to switch to prevacid. As of lately I have not taken any medication because my health insurance decided to stop covering it. I do not respond well to prilosec or prevacid. The dexilant seemed to be working and keeping me flare up free. But it is very expensive an my insurance will not cover it any more. My surgeon seemed very nice and interested in my well being. She has done over 1000 of these procedures. She use to be an army surgeon and performed this for soldiers with Gerd going overseas so they would not have to bring a year supply of nexium with them. Is there a good site to look up a surgeons success rate?

I have had the manometry,, PH monitor, Endoscopy, and a ultra sound of my upper abdomen. I never had any problems with Acid until about 8 months ago. I had a real hard time with my family doctors and ER visits to figure out was wrong with me. I started having real bad bloating where I could barely eat or drink anything. My stomach felt like it was talking to me before bed. I was very nauseous. If I went to the gym and ran on the Eliptical, I would come home in agony because the pounding would flare up my GERD, and I would be out of commission for 3 days. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I went to my family doctor 5 times, and they had different conclusions each time from guessing it was an Ulcer, to my colon, to IBS, and even constipation. They did multiple blood tests, and prescribed a lot of medicine but my problem did not improve. I went to a GI specialist and he told me to wait it out because he though it was stress. Then my problems flared again, so I saw a Nurse practitioner, and she referred me to my surgeon now and she immediately ordered the Endoscopy and PH Monitor. The results came back saying I had the start of a Hiatul Hernia, and that I have irritation caused from GERD. She gave me the option of medicine for my whole life, and then strongly urged that I have the Surgery.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6867
   Posted 12/3/2010 11:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Buckeyefan,

Seriously, I can't believe your insurance company won't pay for the medication that helps you. Have you had a doctor write a letter explaining why you need that particular formulation? That's terrible.

1000 Nissen fundoplications is certainly sufficient to be experienced. I think your best bet is to be direct, and ask your surgeon her success rate and complication rate. From what I understand, they have to be honest about it. I really don't know about a website where they are rated, although if you Google her name, you might find something. I believe I've gotten to sites where information is available for a price.

It sounds like you've had all the testing, and your symptoms are very bothersome. There is nothing wrong with taking medications the rest of your life if that solves your problems.

I'm not saying I'm against the surgery. I think it's a lifesaver for many people. However, it's a big step, and it's something you need to be fully prepared for. Has your surgeon discussed the recovery, the eating protocol, and what to expect?

If you have the right attitude, and really want the surgery, you'll do fine. Some go for the surgery, and they're not willing to accept the inconveniences of recovery, and the changes that come with the surgery.

I had it done in February 2009, because I had very bad asthma caused by GERD. I'm very glad I did, and if I need a redo (I may, because of all my coughing post op, before my lungs healed), I'll gladly have it.

Still, the way you describe your experience, it sounds like you've been pressured into choosing the surgery. That's not a good way to go into it. I may be misinterpreting your description of what you've experienced.

Whatever you decide, be sure to hang around here and ask questions. We'll support you and provide whatever information we can. This is a great forum, and it helped me a lot when I was trying to get the courage to go forward with surgery.
Hang in there!
Denise

Buckeyefan
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/4/2010 9:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Yea the insurance company's can be a real pain. My doctor did contact the insurance company for me, and she is the one that told me they will not cover any of my medications. I'm buying the zegerid now, but they do not work nearly as good as the nexium or dexilant which are a lot more expensive without insurance paying at least some of it. The insurance will cover the surgery for the most part though which does not make much sense to me. I actually rescheduled my surgery for after the new year. I need some more time to think about it and talk to the doctor a little bit more. I think I will be in a better mindset waiting to have it done after the holidays. Your information has been a great help. I think I will do the surgery in January. I think in my case it is only going to get worse and the best time to take care of this is while I'm young and in better shape and health. I've started talking to a lot of people who have had it done and they say a lot of positives about it. Some of the forums on other websites are nothing but horror stories and I think I got myself really worked up about them.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6867
   Posted 12/4/2010 10:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I think that's a really great idea. It will give yourself a chance to get ready for the surgery and recovery, and you can be certain that your surgeon is the best one to do the procedure.

It would be a good idea to check around several GI offices, and see who they refer to. If your surgeon has done 1000, then it is likely that she's the one who does the Nissens in the area. You mentioned that she does surgeries on soldiers...is she a VA doc?

The most important thing you can do is be sure that she's the best possible surgeon, since that's a big key. The other is that you're the best possible patient--that you've had the tests and they show that you definitely need the surgery and it will help you.

Actually, my symptoms were secondary to GERD (asthma) and the surgeon wasn't so sure it would help me. It helped me tremendously...I had healthy lungs for the first time in over four years.

I am a big advocate of the surgery for people who are suffering and need relief. I just worry because surgeons don't tend to prepare their patients for the recovery (although your surgical pain will be better within a couple weeks, your swallowing/eating will take more time.)

I always tell people that it's really important to have an accepting attitude, and surrender to their recovery. If you follow your recovery, rather than struggle against it and complain, you will have a very positive experience. It is as it is. You just go with the flow, and all is well.

Have a wonderful holiday, and be sure to keep us posted. Whatever question you might have between now and your surgery, please ask. We'll do our best to answer each one.

This forum has helped me tremendously, which is why I've stayed around to help others.
Take care,
Denise

Buckeyefan
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 1/31/2011 10:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I have decided to have the surgery. I have surgery a week from today. I took the time to meet with the doctors two more times and they are set on the surgery being the best option. My symptoms have tamed down a lot but the damage is still present. I'm ready to get this recovery process over with and back on with my life!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6867
   Posted 2/1/2011 9:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Buckeyefan,
I'm so glad you've returned to the Healing Well forum! We'll do our best to answer any questions you have post-surgery, and provide you with support. Many of us have had the surgery, and know just what you'll be experiencing.

Try to relax and surrender to the path your recovery takes. If you can follow its lead, and not struggle against it, your recovery will be a much more positive experience.

Have a great surgery, and keep coming back!
Take care,
Denise

Buckeyefan
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/18/2011 3:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Well I came down with Mono and they made me wait two weeks for the surgery. I am no having it this Monday. I keep freaking myself out reading all these horrible stories on the blogs. I wish I could find a site where it was only positive outcomes.

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12059
   Posted 2/18/2011 7:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Buckeyefan,
This is the most positive place I've found. I heard many horror stories before my surgery. Even my doctor told me some.
This is why I came to this forum to talk with others about the surgery.
Most support forums are there for the horror. You don't find many people who join a forum like this who say "hey, I'm feeling great! "

People who go to these forums are usually the ones who have trouble.

I'm one of the people who come and say "Hey, my surgery was a success!"
As for the throwing up issues: I had a 270 degree wrap over a year ago and I've thrown up three times with little trouble. My wrap is still intact. :)
Joy

Buckeyefan
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/18/2011 9:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Couchtater

How long did it take until you were eating what you wanted again?

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6867
   Posted 2/18/2011 9:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Buckeyefan,
I was eating at restaurants on vacation at 4 months post op. Before that it's a gradual process...you get better week by week.

I agree with Joy...this is a very positive and affirming forum. Some of the experienced members who helped me through my surgery are no longer posting, but there are several who have stayed on.

Knowing that there were people who had had problems and needed redos was actually very comforting to me. If they were happy enough with their outcome to gladly go through a redo, I thought it was a very positive sign.

There are some surgeons out there who shouldn't be doing the procedure. They give it a bad name to everyone. Most of the horror stories are a result of botched surgeries.

Still, someone going into this surgery needs to keep a positive and realistic outlook. The recovery will take time, and there will be some changes caused by the wrap. If you are going forward with the surgery, your best path is a positive one. If you are accepting of the changes you experience they will be much less bothersome.

If you surrender to your recovery and follow it where it takes you, it will ensure a much more relaxed and positive experience for you. People who struggle over the time it takes to heal make themselves unnecessarily miserable.

You've researched things well if you've found this forum, and that will help greatly in your recovery.

Best wishes for a very positive surgical experience!
Take care,
Denise

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12059
   Posted 2/20/2011 5:33 PM (GMT -6)   
buckeyefan,
I was eating normal about at the 4 months point.

"Buck Eye", hmmmm.... You're not from Georgia are you?
Or is that some football team? I don't know anything about football except a bunch of guys fight over a ball for seven hours. :S
Joy

strength&beauty
New Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/31/2011 8:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello,

I am a 24 yr old female that had a Lap Coley done on 3/25/2011 due to a non-functioning gallbladder, it was black when the removed it (basically is was dead and causing an infection). My symptoms that started the idea of a gallbladder attack were:

Vomiting (only at night)x 2 months- daily
Choking sensation x 2 years (that I can remember, its felt like a lifetime.)
Regurgitation though only minimal.

After my Lap Coley, I have had continued choking sensation, regurgitation, chest pain when laying down (and swallowing), I have started vomiting again (even worse it seems that my gag reflex is so sensitive the I throw up while brushing my teeth.) **The vomiting, chest pains all started within the last few days, it feels like my symptoms are getting worse.

I asked my surgeon if this is symptoms of "dumping syndrome" common after a gallbladder surgery, but he said no because I do not get severe headaches and sweats. He reviewed my Upper GI test I had done before my surgery and where the Radiologist thought I had a problem with my Duodenum (which is where the stomach connects to the lower intestine) my surgeon said it was clear I have a Hiatel Hernia, which is obviously at the top of my stomach. I am concerned about the contradictions, but I trust my surgeon (he is the "family surgeon", he saved my father's life, and has cut on my Gpa, and my mother as well.)

I guess I am looking for anyones thoughts and opinions or if anyone else has similar issues. I am scheduled for a Ph Test and an EGD (upper endoscopy) on the 16th of June.

Thanks.

P.S. it has been proven already that I have Reflux, but I have never felt "heartburn". I was taking Nexium 40mg qd and my Surgeon took me off of it until after my EGD. I take Welchol for the nausea and the "stomach churning" I get after every meal. I have never really known what Heartburn feels like and I can only associate my chest pains as an onset of heartburn.

Post Edited (strength&beauty) : 5/31/2011 7:39:59 AM (GMT-6)


couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12059
   Posted 5/31/2011 10:04 AM (GMT -6)   
strength&beauty, You don't need to do multiple posting. Everybody reads every thread here. I answered your main thread. :)
Joy

amandapanda82
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 5/31/2011 12:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Buckeye fan, I would like to tell you that a lot of people who have had trouble with their lap nissen come to the internet looking for advice. But far more have the lap nissen done and have no problems.

I had my lap nissen done on March 30, 2011. So, tomorrow I will be 9 weeks post-op. I don't want to sugar coat anything for you, the first two weeks were the hardest. That was what I call the "what have I done to myself" stage!!! I don't think I ate more than a few sips of soup before I left the hospital, and once I did it was experimenting with what would work and what didn't. My diet was definitely restricted for the first six weeks. Weight loss was around 11 pounds (though I think that might come back..hopefullly not :))

Now, I can gladly say that I am so happy I did this surgery. My reflux was so bad that even water would cause symptoms. Now, there are very few, if any, problems and I no longer take acid reflux medications. My diet is very similar to the way it was before surgery, with the exception of a few foods that I have not eaten yet (steak, pork, etc). The main tip here is to CHEW CHEW CHEW everything when you get to that point!

Your recovery may be different, but you are young and I think you have a greater chance of healing faster than if you were older. I am 29 and I healed up quite well. Just a few tips that I noticed post-op:
-DO NOT gulp liquids for a while. I still cannot do that, if I do I notice that my esophageal muscles spasm just a bit.
-If you had any nausea problems before, you probably still will have those after. It should subside as you heal. Be sure to have some good anti-nausea medications on board if you need them. You will be so glad you did!
-Drink as many fluids as you can (no straws) and eat whatever you can every few hours, probably 2-3 hours for sure just to keep your strength up. And you CAN drink alcohol eventually, but give your body some time to heal.
-And in case I didn't mention it before, CHEW CHEW CHEW CHEW CHEW! That is imperative to helping the wrap work properly and ensure nothing gets stuck. It's nothing serious but it HURTS!

Hope this helped. Trust me, I'm so glad I did the surgery. To be able to eat the foods I want without worrying about heartburn or reflux is awesome! Best of luck to you.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6867
   Posted 5/31/2011 8:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi amandapanda,

I'm so glad to hear you're doing well! Your post was wonderful, and I'm sure many people will benefit from reading it.

Thanks for sharing!
Denise
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