Hi, PH Fan... I have had heartburn & reflux for about 10 years - but the past year it has gotten unbearable. Several years ago I participated in a GERD study and had an endoscopy and toldI had a small hiatel hernia probably contributing to the GERD and given medicine. The study med worked pretty good but not 100% as I still woke myself up with the horrid acid vomiting out of my nose & throat, choking on it, severe burning in my throat so even one episode of reflux in my opinion is too many! It was horrible and I suffered terribly every time I would lie down even several hours after eating. I have been sleeping sitting up for the past 3 years. Ok - that is pre- TIF ... I finally decided to find a surgeon and had the preliminary testing to see if I was a candidate for the procedure. I guess if the hiatal hernia is too large it can't be done. After testing I was a candidate and I had the procedure 2 weeks ago on March 17, 2012. Stayed overnight in the hospital and released the next morning. The doctor said the procedure went well and set up a follow up visit in 3 weeks which will be next Tuesday, 4/17. So the surgery was successful he said - I wish they had told me how bad my throat & chest would hurt for the next few days. I guess I should have realized it would but when I asked the nurse about recovery from the surgery and if I could resume normal activities because I have 4 pets and a house to clean and take care of. I was told I could resume normal activities almost immediately. It wasn't until the day of the surgery the doctor warned me that my chest would feel like I was having a heart attack (he didn't want me calling 911) and that they turn you during surgery on your shoulder and it too may hurt. Well he was right about that, maybe I'm a baby but it hurt REALLY bad! But it was better in a few days so I wouldn't not have the surgery because of the pain. They put dillaudid (sp) in my IV a couple times and I fell asleep so I guess the pain med helped some. The next day I went home and yesterday was 2 weeks. I followed the liquid diet, had a lot of burping which they recommend you try to limit so was told to take Mylanta. Also was told at the hospital to continue reflux medicine until my follow up appt which I've been doing. I will say that yesterday the burping/gas was a lot less than it has been and actually I'm feeling pretty good. I haven't wanted to chance laying down instead of sitting up to sleep yet because if somehow I were to get the reflux it would reap havoc on my new "tube" so I'll still sit up for a few more weeks so can't tell you if I would get reflux or not.
The pain in my chest is also gone now - it's been about 3 or 4 days since that stopped. So all in all so far I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I've heard good things from people who have had the TIF longer than I have and it's got a very good success rate so I have no reason to think I won't be one of them. Considering how bad my reflux had gotten I'm ecstatic at the prospect of not waking up any more to the nightmare of acid reflux in my mouth, nose & throat. I can't describe it any better (or worse) other than it was HELL!
My advice - get tested - see if you are a candidate - get a good surgeon - my doctor had done the procedure over 130 times so I felt good about him. He said he only had one unsuccessful surgery and it was because the person didn't follow the diet or other guidelines and he was a mess! lol All the rest he said were happy with it. Good luck - I hope you find a good surgeon. You didn't say what part of the country you are in - but I'm in Knoxville, TN and I had to drive 60 miles to a place called Crossville, TN because there weren't any doctors in this area. If you're near here, let me know and I'll give you his name.