7 Days Post Op - Hiatal Hernia/Gerd Surgery

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Flboy32801
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Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 2/8/2017 7:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everyone!

I recently had surgery for my hiatal hernia/acid reflux and thought I'd share my experience with you!

about me: I'm a 25 year old male, 10 year history of heartburn and regurgitation, which slowly got worse and worse over time. I was having to watch what I ate, what time I ate, and make sure I had medicine nearby or else the acid reflux would give me some of the worst pains I've ever felt before. I had an upper GI endoscopy done in 2015 and was told by the Dr. that I had "just a little reflux" and was put on an acid reducing medication (PPI) and sent home.

I knew it was time to seek other options when the medicine faded over time and I started to have more severe symptoms of acid reflux (trouble breathing, sleep apnea, heartburn, abdominal pain, and anxiety), and I started to worry that I had cancer or something terrible.

Later that week I found a surgeon in Orlando, Florida that has since changed my life. His name is Dr. Farid Gharagozloo, and he is a world renown surgeon in the field of thoracic surgery and specializes in GERD and acid reflux. He is one of the first pioneers of robotic laproscopic surgery, and has done thousands of surgeries via the robot. I knew I was in good hands the moment I spoke to him and saw the 100s of awards that peppered his office walls.

He has revolutionized a procedure, called the Gastroesophageal Valvuloplasty that repairs hital hernias and fixes the valve that allows stomach acid and food to flow through. This operation is different than the nissen fundoplication, as the stomach is not wrapped and the esophagus is instead intercepted into the stomach at a 270 degree angle, replicating normal human anatomy. Common side effects of the Nissen Fundoplication are the inability to burp or vomit ever again, excessive gas, and in some cases the wrap comes undone over time.

I am now 7 days post op from the valvuloplasty and have already burped (a lot) and have been able to tolerate most soft foods without a problem!! I already feel a difference in my energy, and I feel that I have more air in my lungs when I breathe turn I'm still in a lot of pain due to a chest tube needed in my case, but I'm walking 3-5 miles a day to eleviate the gas pains and taking medication for pain, anxiety and muscle spasms so not too bad. For me the anxiety was the worst part prior to surgery, I was so worked up the day of that I was sedated with medication before I even arrived at the hospital.

If anyone is looking to have their acid reflux problem fixed for good, or have their failed nissen fundoplications repaired, please please please visit Florida Hospital Celebration in Orlando, Florida, and have it done CORRECTLY! the link to the procedure and surgeon is below. The hospital staff was amazing and they did extremely well with controlling my pain levels.

my incision scars are so small they are already almost healed, and the only pain I have is leftover from having a chest tube inserted during surgery and for two days post op. If you are thinking about this surgery but are nervous or scared to have it done - PLEASE don't let it get in the way of your wellbeing. My quality of life was so terrible prior to surgery that I would of done anything to have it fixed.

Thanks for listening and will continue posting updates about my recovery.

Cheers!
West


https://www.floridahospital.com/celebration-health/thoracic-surgery-program/specialty-treatments/digestive-health-gerd

Post Edited (Flboy32801) : 2/8/2017 7:32:12 AM (GMT-7)


smlafleur
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2016
Total Posts : 123
   Posted 2/8/2017 10:38 AM (GMT -7)   
first of all I want to commend you for doing your research. I think a lot OF people go into this procedure without really investigating their surgeon. Second, thankyou for posting the surgeons name, this forum does not have enough posts about great surgeons who perform this surgery.

Flboy32801
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 2/9/2017 7:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Smafleur,

Thank you! I really spent time researching this - friends and family thought I was crazy the amount of questions I had.

*update*
I am post op day 8 now so don't want to get too excited but the pain is slowly going away. I'm walking 3 miles a day (today trying 4 miles) and the incisions are pretty small now. Biggest incision I have is from the chest tube but not everyone gets one... and the pain is also related to that area.

I am still having trouble getting soft foods down (mac n cheese, soft chicken, pudding) and have had a few bouts of panic where I thought I couldn't breathe because the food was stuck. A little swig of powerade or water helped get it down each time though.

I have had trouble breathing since surgery again because of the painful chest tube they needed to use during my surgery, and also because they operated on my diaphragm. However, each day has gotten a bit better, and I'm making myself walk more as well. The gas pain is pretty bad like most people say but that also has gotten significantly better since day 1.

I will post another update this weekend and let you all know how it's going.

West

joswald
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 2/9/2017 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I have not had your procedure, I had a nissen.

I'm not sure with your procedure what the eating restrictions are but maybe you should think about the nissen style diet. Or scale back to softer foods. If you have trouble, maybe step back for a few days and slowly reintroduce it.

My diet didn't have me on any pasta until week 6. For the first 2 weeks it was alot of chicken broth, Jello, Pudding, and Protean meal replacement shakes. I think week 2 I got moist mash potatoes. Lots of water especially a sip of water between bites of stuff. That helps a lot.

For the breathing. One thing I didn't know about before the operation was to avoid Situps and heavy core stuff for a long time. My doctor said like no situps if possible. Find other ways to work the core. This was due to the pressure on the diaphragm.

Flboy32801
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 2/9/2017 2:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Joswald, I was thinking about that today, that i'll scale it back to more of a liquid diet again and see if it helps. The hospital was very antsy to get me on soft foods (i spent 5 days there) and said it was okay but it was actually hard to swallow.

I'm hoping it gets better soon because I'm craving chicken and have been replacing chicken with protein shakes for now.

Good news is, only another hour until I can take something for the pain again.

Cheers,
West

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4931
   Posted 2/10/2017 7:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Get a blender or food processor. You can have your chicken.

I use a lot of ground chicken for chili, soups, meat patties ... It has no fat, costs less ($2.49 here) than half the price of ground beef, has no flavor of it's own. It's so much better tasting than ground turkey (IMO). It's soft and more easily swallowed than ground beef when cooked. Just flavor it a little extra because it's bland.

If your grocery doesn't have ground chicken, ask them to grind some. Ask for no fat or skin.

When you start cooking it, put just a little water in the pot and stir a lot so it doesn't clump or stick. It will come out soft, looking a little like rice. I make a big kettle of stuffed pepper soup and package it in meal-size containers and freeze.

I need moist, soft food, because I have trouble swallowing from having polio when I was a child.

Flboy32801
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 2/10/2017 10:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Alcie!

Thank you for the information, I definately need to try that!

Last night I had portobello mushroom soup with chicken legs in it, that sat in the crock pot all day. The chicken fell off the bone and went down nicely (some needed a sip of powerade). Tonight I'm going to have more soup, yay! I've also been snacking on easy squeeze apple sauce packets, TONS of jello (my favorite) and gogurt (kids squeeze yogurt)

Today is post op day 9 and I'm feeling much better. Walked 3.5 miles today, definately feeling the 5 miles from yesterday. my incisions are so tiny from my walking that I barely notice them. Only my chest tube scar is pretty gnarly. Not needing as much medication and feeling much more optimistic.

-West

Post Edited (Flboy32801) : 2/10/2017 10:37:00 AM (GMT-7)


imightsee
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2017
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/22/2017 3:33 PM (GMT -7)   
West, i wanted to know how you are doing further out your post Valvuloplasty?

This seems like a good procedure and i hope its working out for you.

Flboy32801
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 2/28/2017 6:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone,

I thought I'd post an update since I'm now at exactly 1 month out of surgery. I had my follow up appointment today and the surgeon took out my remaining stitches (had to have a chest tube) and looked at my incisions. He said everything is great and healing perfectly. I am starting to wake up and not require pain medication so that's a plus, but I have some good stuff for when the pain does flare up.

I have been walking every day about 3-5 miles, but don't have much energy the rest of the day. I am lucky to have an employer who provides me with benefits - so I'm covered for 6 weeks fully paid. It's been fantastic - I feel like a kid again!

I don't know if my heartburn is gone or not yet - my doc has me on PPI medication (omeprazole) for 3 months until I have a followup Endoscopy study done to see how my esophagus has healed. almost 100% of his patients come off the medication with no further heartburn, so I'm looking forward to that. I've been on and off PPI meds for about 8 years now and my heartburn was to the point I was desperate for help.

Some other interesting things; I've always suffered from sinus problems and since my surgery date I have been breathing better and have not had clogged sinuses. I always thought it was allergies but turns out my reflux affected my sinuses as well. I've also suffered from Sleep Apnea my whole life, where I would snore and stop breathing while I'm sleeping and be gasping for air. My girlfriend has told me she has not heard me snore one night and I am feeling so much more rested each day! my hernia was affecting my breathing which was causing all my issues.

My posture is also better, as before my stomach was herniated into my chest which kind of made me slouch when I walked or sat down. It felt better to lean forward at times, and easier to breathe. Now I can sit up straighter and walk with my shoulders back more - it's an amazing feeling!

So for anyone who is curious about having this surgery done but a little aprehensive - all I can say is there's light at the end of the tunnel and it is so worth it. Post op sucked for a few weeks, some of the most pain I"ve ever had....But now I feel great and have had no issues whatsoever. I will post another update in a few months when I have my endoscopy study done.

Cheers everyone! smile
West

imightsee
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2017
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/2/2017 8:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Im very glad to hear of your improvements! That is wonderful. Aside from pains of post op, its good that it has cleared up some issues. I hope it has stopped your reflux as well!

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I look forward to the next months update. Take care West! 😃

pamsn
New Member


Date Joined May 2017
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/20/2017 5:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Can you please give us an update on the status of your surgery. I am scheduled to have the same procedure with the same doctor in July and I am wondering if it was successful.

Flboy32801
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2017
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 10/4/2017 5:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the length of time between responses, to be honest I have been so busy with work and school I completely forgot to document my progress as of late. Today is almost 8 months exactly from my surgery date and I just had my follow up endoscopy last week. To be honest, my heartburn is almost COMPLETELY gone, and I'm feeling MUCH better! My GI doc who did my endoscopy told me my new esophageal valve looks perfect, and that Dr. G did an amazing job at repairing the hiatal hernia. I still was having mild complains of a burning sensation in my chest after eating certain foods and drinks (coffee and carbonation is a big no-no for me), and he said he found some inflammation in the bottom of my esophagus, which was damaged from the many years of having GERD. I was prescribed Carafate Suspension liquid, and can already tell a difference after a few days.

I am now able to eat normal, I can drink liquid while laying down, and nothing comes back up! I never thought I'd see the day when I could drink water and not have burning hot pain in my chest/stomach area. I am able to run and do cardio now, without having a feeling of regurgitation; and I can drink alcohol without constantly being in pain around friends and in public. I feel like a new person, and now I am going to start liftin weights again and trying to get overall healthy.

A couple words of advice:
-Stay away from coffee. It is the WORST irritant on the stomach and creamers/dairy makes it worse.
-Stay away from too spicy food. Even after surgery I have mild pain if something has too many spices(ugh!)
-Limit carbonated drinks. Whether its soda, seltzer water, champagne, energy drinks - they ALL bothered me.
-Walk/run/jog as much as possible. this helps get the food down from earlier and helps you digest so food doesn't come back up.
-sleep sitting up. I have a bed that inclines electronically, and it helped tremendously with keeping acid away.

If any of you have questions about my procedure and want to hear about Dr. G let me know! My great aunt had the same surgery after me, and my friend at work did and they are doing great.

Good luck everyone with this horrible illness and God bless.

Wes turn tongue smile

Davidoff51
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 10/4/2017 10:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello! Well, I had search the intervention video and it look totaly like a Nissen, or a Toupet, if the stomach is not totaly fixed (270 degrees) around esophage...

Question to Flboy32801, please. You have told about breathing problems, before surgery. Could you detail what was your respiratory problems, please? Thank you very much!

Post Edited (Davidoff51) : 10/5/2017 6:27:00 AM (GMT-6)


Yellow1955
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 10/5/2017 7:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Wes, It is good to hear that you are doing well. I am too. I finally have gotten rid of my inflammation. I drink coffee, but not spicey food or soda and exercise.

This is a miracle surgery no I am so glad that I had it. Everyone who is having trouble with their Nissen procedure should contact Dr. Gee. ... or even better, contact Dr. Gee first. I didn’t need a chest tube so you must have had a more complicated surgery than I.

PS I just noticed that I left a post here indicating that my valvuloplasty failed. It didn't. I had my surgery almost one year ago and had severe inflammation because of postoperative stress. The GI doctor didn't know what he was looking at, and gave me incorrect information. I saw Dr. Gee and reassured me, and he said that I would improve. I have. I was on Carafate for about one month, and I am coming off PPI's slowly.

Post Edited (Yellow1955) : 11/22/2017 11:57:03 AM (GMT-7)


3wwe1
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 10/5/2017 9:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Flboy32801,
I am very interested in this procedure. It seems like a much better option than the standard gerd surgeries out there. I really related to your problem however I do not have any heartburn. Just food always coming up constantly from acid reflux. I figured that this was uncommon for someone my age (I am 19) so I did an endoscopy and it turns out I have a small hiatal hernia that is causing my gerd. It is getting to the point where I can't even do anything without this always bothering me. I have tried all ppis and antacids with no avail and am finally considering surgery. The gastroesophegeal valvuloplasty really interests me and since I live in Orlando, it really made me think about doing this. I am just unsure if this will make my stomach acid stop coming up so that my esophagus can heal. This surgery seems like it is the best option but I noticed that you still had mild heartburn so I am not sure if this can fully work for me. I am looking for a lifetime solution to this problem. I want your opinion on your surgery and if there is anything else you can add about your surgery for me to know that would be great.

Yellow1955
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 10/6/2017 4:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello 3wwe1, I haven’t had heartburn or acid reflux since my surgery one year ago. Since you live in Orlando, go and see Dr. Gee. He will answer all of your questions -- with no pressure. I was very impressed with him and feel lucky that I went to him. Your surgery should be straight forward because you have a small hernia. I recommend that you do something about it while it still is small. I suffered through many years of acid reflux.

Here is the link for Dr Farid Gharagozloo

https://www.floridahospital.com/doctor/farid-gharagozloo-md-1871533653

Post Edited (Yellow1955) : 11/22/2017 11:58:05 AM (GMT-7)


3wwe1
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 10/6/2017 9:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the reply Yellow1955. I think I will have a consultation with the Doctor but I also would like to hear from people that have done the procedure. Knowing that you and flboy32801 have done it, I would like to ask you guys a couple of more questions. After the procedure, did you feel 100% satisfaction from your gerd symptoms. Also, do you guys take any medications as of right now for gerd or have you completely stopped taking them. Also, if you can briefly explain the procedure a little more in depth so that I can understand how it works. Does this procedure not wrap the stomach around like all the other procedures? I want honest opinions about it! Thanks

Yellow1955
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 10/7/2017 6:57 AM (GMT -7)   
I still am taking medicine because I had severe inflammation from stress. However, I am not a good example because my brother got lung cancer and passed away during the six months postoperative period. I was put on Carafate and a PPI. I am off the Carafate and weaning myself off the PPI. I was getting acid reflux because my esohagus was swollen and my valve was not working correctly. It has resolved and I feel much better, but I have to wean myself off the PPI's because I have been on them for 30 years. There is another person, who had this surgery, on Wes's previous post called "hiatal hernia without the wrap" and there are other individuals on a FB support group called Nissen Fundoplication takedown. There are many people on that site (who have had the Nissen and are having it reversed) with bad side effects that are permanent, which we have none of. It is my understanding that it is common to some inflammation during the postoperative period. My goal is to get off medicine completely.

Dr. Gee takes the esophagus and puts it back in the stomach, where it belongs, and creates a valve between the stomach and esophagus. This valve opens and closes while you eat. He closes the hiatal hernia with a Vicryl mesh. He does put several sutures to hold the esophagus and stomach in place, but he does not wrap the stomach around the esophagus (like the Nissen). All sutures and mesh are absorbed in the postoperative period. You end up nicely working valve and the acid reflux is gone.

Dr.Gee has been doing this procedure since 2000, and has been in Florida for one year. He has done over 500 procedures in Florida and there are no failures (except for one - an individual lifted during the postoperative period). He has written papers which are online and we all completed a questionnnaire. He will write another paper with his Florida experience.

I was in the hospital for four days and when I first got home, I had to eat soft food. I felt pretty well and was out and about one week postoperatively. He told me not to lift anything for six weeks and not to gain any weight. I eat whatever I want, but I happen not to like spicy food, I watch my alcohol intake and I went to a light blend of coffee. Many people take over the counter antacids probably because they eat the stuff that I just mentioned.

If you go to the FB site that I mentioned, you will never have the Nissen wrap because people have bad problems. Someone told me that she did well until she wasn't. Dr. Gee told me that the Nissen eventually fails, which I already knew.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Post Edited (Yellow1955) : 11/22/2017 12:00:07 PM (GMT-7)


cnrage
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2017
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/26/2017 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Yellow/FlyBoy - I want to thank you. Based on your comments I have a surgery scheduled with Dr. Gee. I also have a Nissen surgery scheduled this next month but will cancel it if all goes well. The Nissen really scares me. I do have some questions for you and would be very grateful for your responses:

Are you out of state? I'm in Colorado and will have to fly in for the procedure. Are there a lot of follow-ups regarding this procedure? Flying back and forth from FLA might get expensive (but I also don't care because I've been on Nexium for like 16+ years and am terrified of the long-term health consequences--not to mention possible esophageal cancer).

I've been informed that this procedure clocks in at around $100K. Did you have full coverage from your insurance, and have you had any subsequent claim problems?

Do you guys know of anyone who is around 10 years out from the surgery? I wonder about the LT efficacy of the procedure? I mean, you seem to indicate this is a permanent fix above, but I want to make sure before I pull the trigger

Thanks again for taking the time to post. You are really helping people out here!

Caleb

Yellow1955
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 10/26/2017 12:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Those are good questions to ask Dr. GEE. I believe Fitboy travelled. Hopefully, he will respond. I live in Florida so I didn’t have to travel. From what people said who travel for the surgery, you go home after release from the hospital, and come back once postoperatively. I don’t know what it costs because my insurance covered it 100% (except for my copay). Dr Gee’s office probably can give you that information because they will call your insurance company preoperatively.

There are no failures (and we have no bad side effects) with this procedure unless you don’t follow instructions about lifting. I am one year postoperatively and feel fine. All of us who have had the gastroesophageal valvuloplasty believe Dr. Gee is a miracle worker. Dr. Gee doesn’t wrap the esophagus, but creates a valve between the esophagus and stomach)that opens and closes when you eat (which is the way it is suppose to work).The other procedure wraps the stomach around the esophagus. Yes, this procedure is a permanent fix. You can email Dr. Gee with any subsequent questionss, or call the office. It sounds as though you already saw him and scheduled the surgery.

Before you consider having the Nissen procedure, go to the FB site “takedown of Nissen wrap”. Everyone on that site has problems with their procedure. Someone said that “it works until it doesn’t”. The individuals on that site are either considering having a takedown of the procedure, or have already have had one. They are all sorry that they had the procedure.

I wish you good luck. If you decide to go ahead with Dr. Gee’s procedure, please post your experience (especially about from out of state).

cnrage
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2017
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/26/2017 3:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much. Can you please post the FB link? I can't find it when I search.

Yellow1955
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 10/26/2017 3:53 PM (GMT -7)   
I can’t copy and paste from FB TO HERE, but it is called

NISSEN FUNDOPLICATION TAKEDOWN

I was on the site for a while. I referred them to Dr. Gee because he also does the takedown with his valuloplasty. I believe several of individuals from the support group were going to see Dr. Gee.

Rangerdude
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/2/2017 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Diane, Wes and everyone else who replied to this thread who have been through the procedure. I am strongly leaning toward this procedure. Diane, I want to thank you for your replies and remaining active. Do you find that you are able to sleep laying down and get a good night sleep. I know you have mentioned only failure is the person who lifted weights too soon. I just had some concerns about Wes saying sleep with your head elevated. Just don't want to get a procedure and then have to sleep elevated or with my head up, kind a defeats the purpose.

Thank you. Thanks everyone for all your help. I'm so sick of being overweight, stressed, not getting a good night sleep, excessive belching after eating and dealing with constant indigestion from this. I need my life back. I used to be so active and physically fit, but from constantly not sleeping well and being stressed from it all, just feel worn out and no energy anymore.

Thank you.

Charlie.

Yellow1955
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 11/3/2017 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   
I don’t sleep with my bed elevated because I get no heartburn, or that awful regurgitation at night (although I do have a tempurpedic bed.). I believe Wes was talking about the fact that it is common to get inflammation postoperatively. I had this also, but it is resolving. It might be that we got off medicine too soon, and stress. I spoke with Dr. Gee about this and he spends more time now discussing this possibility and how to handle it. You won’t find many of us online because we are all doing well. Dr Gee has done this procedure since 2000, and over 500 procedures in the year that he has been in Florida. He has written papers on the procedure and they are online.

I want to reinforce that I don’t have to watch what I eat like those who have the Nissen procedure. I feel sad for them because they have many types of problems. I try to refer them to Dr Gee because he does the takedown and his gastroesophageal valvulolasty.

I wish you luck and please keep us updated.

Rangerdude
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/3/2017 4:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Diane,

As always. Thank you so much for the quick reply and the update. I just want to get a good night sleep and not wake with excessive bile acid in my throat/tongue that I have to scrap off. I just want to be free of indigestion and heart burn/regurgitation. Sorry I know it is graphic. Thank you for your advice and thank you for taking the time to be active on this forum.

I hope your house/home survived the hurricane. Thank you Diane, for all you do.

Charlie.
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