Hi GERD 11,
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. It has been very busy around my house these days.
I had my Nissen in February 2009. I had the atypical symptom of asthma. My reflux, while annoying at times, was not bad enough to warrant surgery by itself. My esophagus was not damaged, because I was put on PPI's immediately after discovering that I was having reflux.
The problem was that the reflux, no matter how mild, was causing my asthma to be much worse. Over the years the reflux got worse, and my asthma become uncontrollable. I was on high doses of inhaled steroids to try to control it, and even oral steroids didn't relieve it. It because life-threatening.
Through all that, my GI doctor never thought my GERD was bad enough to have surgery. It was my family doctor and asthma doctors who pushed for it. Finally, my 24hr PH monitor put me at 14--very unimpressive, but with the urging of my doctors, decided that yes, it's possible that a little reflux could do a lot of damage to lungs.
So...he told me I could continue to treat my reflux with meds (kind of a stupid idea, since I was already doing that to no avail), or go talk to a surgeon he recommended highly. I didn't really have a choice at that point.
I talked to the surgeon, then made the decision that I had to give the surgery a try. I brought my husband back with me to hear what he had to say, then scheduled the surgery.
My lungs were so bad that we couldn't wait for them to heal prior to surgery. I went into it with a pretty severe lung infection. I was also on high doses of oral steroids. (The extensive doses of steroids had done damage to my skin...it is now thin and tears very easily, and I bruise with the slightest bump.)
I had the surgery (I was having adrenal insufficiency due to the steroid use, and had to have a boost of steroids so I didn't go into shock from the surgery), and when I talked to my surgeon afterwards, he said that my internal tissue was so fragile (from the steroids) he was afraid the stitches wouldn't hold, so he put in extra ones for good measure. He considered using mesh to secure my hernia (a small one) but said that mesh can cause it's own problems, so he decided against it.
Fast forward to recover time. I continued to have horrible lungs, and coughed up mucous incessantly. I was on steroids, a nebulizer, all kinds of inhalers, and my lungs were awful. I ended up on a course of antibiotic shots, which finally cleared up the infection.
It took my lungs two and a half months to clear up. In the middle of May, in the height of allergy season, my lungs finally cleared.
After four years of horrible, sickly lungs, I finally had relief.
Yes, the surgery did work. It worked like a charm. I have and still do have concerns (and am pretty sure I'm right) that the extreme coughing I had to do during the healing process did some damage to the wrap.
That said, my lungs have continued to be 100% better. While I get some allergy/asthma symptoms, it it nothing, nothing, nothing like what I experienced prior to the surgery.
Last Christmastime I caught a bad cold, and was back to coughing a lot. In January, I noticed some sour taste in my mouth.
I waited a while, then went to the GI doc, who ordered a barium swallow. The results were that the hernia was intact, and the wrap looked like it was fine. There was no indication of reflux.
I did have some barium that was retained in the esophagus after swallowing, and seemed to move up and down the esophagus propelled by air released by the stomach. My GI doc said that was a first--he'd never gotten that diagnosis. Go figure.
My GI doc diagnosed me as having a little bile reflux. I find it very intermittent. Comes and goes. My guess is that my coughing did something to a stitch, and it moves a bit, sometimes allowing a little reflux.
I take Carafate Suspension fairly regularly to protect my esophagus and stomach. I've got an extremely reactive and sensitive stomach. When I eat something that is irritating (roughage or something extremely acidic, etc.) it can get my wrap feeling irritated. The Carafate is a wonder drug for me. It coats my ornery stomach, and calms things right down.
So...if my wrap should fail, and I get enough reflux to get my lungs acting up again, I will be right back for a redo without hesitation. I will not live like I did. It was a dangerous situation, and I was not well.
I would urge you to consider the surgery. While it's not perfect, and those of us in the "Wrapped Club" have a few little quirks in our upper GI tracts, it's well worth any inconvenience it causes. I wish I hadn't needed it, but still very glad the procedure was there for me. It was my only hope.
Sorry for your disappointing TIF result, but be glad that there is another option. The Nissen has been around for over 50 years (close to 10 laproscopically), so it is a tested procedure.
Hope my diatribe was helpful!
Take care and try not to get down. There are so many things to be thankful for!
If I can help by answering any other questions, let me know.