Nissen surgery in Michigan

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/12/2010 3:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,

I am considering having the Nissen surgery done after having 3 years of GERD. Medications are not working as expected and I feel heat in my throat almost all day (also in my chest)
Has anybody done the Nissen in Michigan? if yes where and what was the outcome (good or bad)?
Or anybody heard about an experienced surgeon in Michigan?

I contacted the university of Michigan GI department but not sure if they are the best in Michigan for Nissen operation

I am willing also to go to other states if anybody can suggest an experienced surgeon there

Thanking you in advance for any information you provide



Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 8/12/2010 4:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Ask your local gastroenterologist if he knows a specific surgeon there and what the record of success is. You could also check out MSU or Cleveland.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 8/12/2010 4:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I know an excellent one in South GA.
Dr. John Bagnato, Albany

Problems too numerous to name. :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 8/12/2010 5:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Amin, I live in Michigan and I had my surgery at Cleveland Clinic; MSU does not have a hospital affiliated with it and while M is great, it's not as great as CC. My GI sends everyone who will go to Cleveland; you want the best for this surgery.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted Today 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
I do not live in Michigan but I have had the surgery.  I would not reccommend the surgery especially if you are an older adult.  I have suffered with GERD all my life but I would rather deal with the GERD than with not being able to eat.  I had the surgery May 28 and to date I have loss 43 lbs.  I can not eat without pain, terrible pain.  The doctor who told me that I needed to have the surgery and the surgeon could not figure out why I was hurting after the surgery. They tested my gall ballder, the blood flow in my stomach, etc. but they could not find a reason.  After much distress, I went to another doctor for a second opinion.  He immediately knew what was wrong.  He said that in older adults that 5 to 10% of the surgerys do not correct the problem and that the surgery needed to be reversed.  He also found out that my stomach does not empty correctly and the wrap is extremely tight. My life has not been the same since the surgery.  I would not have it done. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted Today 2:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Paula - I don't mean to criticize, just to have had a different experience. I am a senior citizen who lived for nearly 30 years with GERD, and I would agree not having surgery is best, but sometimes surgery is necessary. I avoided it until I was in a wreck and my stomach was pushed into my chest and it became a life-threatening condition.

I had only a partial wrap because of a weak swallow and I'm happy with my surgery done in Pittsburgh. There are 3 hospitals I think are very experienced there. The most important thing is to find a doctor who had done at least hundreds, if not thousands. They do a lot of re-do's in the 'burgh. If a wrap is really too tight after months of healing, it can be stretched. It's a routine procedure.

A stomach that does not empty has something else going on. There are tests to see what is causing it and medications that can sometimes get it to empty faster. Paula - I hope you can find a doctor who can correct your condition. Best wishes!!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted Today 10:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Azalzaa,
While I can't give you any help on finding a good surgeon in Michigan, I can speak to Paula's post regarding the warning against the surgery. I had the surgery done in February 2009, after spending four years with horrible asthma caused by GERD. Posts like Paula's that I saw all over the Internet scared me so much that I didn't have the surgery when I needed it. Finally, after finding this fine forum filled with people who have experienced the surgery and its recovery, I found the courage to go forward with my surgery. I am very glad I did. My lungs improved tremendously, and I only wish I'd had the courage to do it sooner. That said, it is important to go into the surgery with your eyes wide open.

Here's the post I wrote regarding surgical failure posts that abound on the internet:

Nissen Surgery Failures:
My Thoughts:

Yes, there are many very disturbing stories all over the internet--enough to scare anyone away from this procedure. I spent four years searching the web, looking for information to help me make an informed decision. The internet sources I searched out provided me with an overabundance of reasons not to go ahead with a surgical fix.

It is clear that pre-testing is crucial to ensuring that a patient will be helped by this surgery. Motility tests (manometry--tests the strength and effectiveness of your swallowing muscles, as well as the strength of the LES valve.), 24hr PH Monitor, Barium Swallow, and perhaps a stomach emptying study, are all tests that can spot problems that could complicate this surgery.

Choosing a skilled and experienced surgeon is also critical. A surgeon who does an overly tight wrap can create swallowing problems--especially in someone who has slipped through the testing cracks, and has a swallowing problem to begin with. Careful selection of a good candidate is most important. Don't rush your way towards surgery. Go to a good GI doc, and thoroughly explore all your options. Once you have a trusted specialist, it's likely that he/she will be able to recommend a surgeon who is skilled in the procedure. Then check that surgeon's credentials further.

Make an appointment with one or more surgeons...ask lots of questions. Just because you meet with someone doesn't mean you have to go through with surgery. My family doctor recommend a surgeon, and I met with him/had tests done/was told I was a good candidate for the surgery. I was not ready to make that decision, so I went back to my GI doc, who looked at the results of the tests the other surgeon did, and ordered an additional test. After testing was done and we discussed the results, he suggested that I just go and talk to the rush...just discuss the procedure, and start to think about what I wanted to do. I ended up meeting with his recommended surgeon twice, and made the decision to go through with the surgery.

Keep in mind that many, many people have a Nissen Fundoplication and never enter any comments in a forum online. It's more likely that people who had bad outcomes will search the web for reasons for their suffering. Many, many successful surgeries happen, and you just don't hear about them. The more problems a person has with the outcome, the more likely you'll hear about his/her poor results.

I do know that as an open procedure, this is a 50 year old surgical method, so it must have helped many people for it to have lasted this long.

Laproscopic Nissen Fundoplication has been around a much shorter time (a little over 10 years, I believe, but I may be off on that number). From what I've read, the move to laproscopic Nissens has been beneficial, in that fewer surgeons are qualified for to do non-invasive procedures, and it creates a situation where a few surgeons get lots more Nissen surgeries--which provides ample opportunites for developing skills necessary for successful outcomes.

So seems that there is a disproportionally large number of Nissen failure when you read forums such as these. If you go to surgical sites, medical journal entries, you will find that the success rate is quite high. That doesn't solve the problem for people who have had poor outcomes, but it should create more confidence in someone making the decision to have this life-changing surgery.

Don't let scary stories make up your mind for you. Do the work to find out if this procedure is right for you. Then make an informed decision and go with it. Best wishes to anyone trying to make this difficult decision.
Also...good luck to those who are struggling with surgeries that didn't work out the way you had hoped. I hope you all find solutions to your medical problems.

Thanks again to everyone who shares their experience and hope on this forum. It has made a big difference to a lot of people.

So...that's my post. It's over a year old, but I thought it was appropriate to bring it out for this thread, considering your request for information, and Paula's warning not to go forward with the surgery. You, and only you, know whether or not this surgery is right for you. Many here have found it a lifesaver.
Good luck finding an excellent surgeon. Janice's ideas (LdyJane) about the Cleveland Clinic are good ones. If I need a redo at some point, that's probably a place I'll consider seriously. (By the time I had the courage to go forward with the surgery, my lungs were in such bad condition that I coughed constantly post surgery. It took two and a half months for them to heal after all those years of being bathed regularly in acid. In addition I was on high doses of steroids, which made my internal tissue very fragile. Because of my fear to go forward, I waited too long, and my post-op condition could very well have caused me to damage my wrap. I'm exploring that possibility with my asthma doctor now. We shall see...)

Good luck finding an answer to your problems, Paula. I hope you consider going to a variety of doctors if you don't get help with the ones you're seeing.

I hope you find a great surgeon, Azalzaa. It's the most important thing you can do to ensure a good outcome.
Take care,
Denise turn
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