Anti-Reflux Surgery


Anti-Reflux Surgery

When gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) doesn’t improve with medications, you may need anti-reflux surgery to stop acid reflux and prevent serious complications. John Bollins, DO, and the skilled team at Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota have helped many patients overcome the pain of GERD with minimally invasive, robotic-assisted anti-reflux surgery. Call the office in Hibbing, Duluth, or Ely, Minnesota, today or request an appointment online to learn more about anti-reflux surgery and the benefits of minimally invasive procedures.

Anti-Reflux Surgery Q & A

What is anti-reflux surgery?

Anti-reflux surgery is a minimally invasive procedure to treat GERD. Whenever possible, Dr. Bollins and his surgical team perform robotic-assisted anti-reflux surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System.

During robotic-assisted surgery, Dr. Bollins controls the robotic arms, which hold surgical instruments inserted into tiny incisions in your abdomen. Robotic assistance is more precise than other surgeries because the da Vinci arms can move with greater dexterity than human hands.

The small incisions used during minimally invasive surgery offer advantages, such as:

  • Less pain after surgery
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Reduced bleeding during surgery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery

Though the team specializes in robotic surgery, they may need to convert to an open procedure if they encounter problems like dense scar tissue.

What causes GERD? 

GERD develops when strong acids leave the stomach (called acid reflux) and go up into your esophagus (the tube carrying food, liquids, and saliva from your mouth to your stomach).

A round one-way valve at the bottom of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), opens to let food and liquids into your stomach, then closes to prevent reflux. Acid reflux begins when the valve muscles weaken, or you have a hiatal hernia.

When does GERD need anti-reflux surgery?

GERD is first treated with medications that neutralize stomach acids (antacids). You may also need medications that decrease or block acid production.

Your doctor also recommends lifestyle changes that reduce reflux, such as avoiding certain foods, losing weight, and elevating the head of your bed. 

You need anti-reflux surgery when GERD doesn’t improve with conservative treatments. 

What symptoms appear if I need anti-reflux surgery?

Acid reflux causes one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Heartburn (burning pain in your chest)
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bitter taste in your mouth

GERD begins when occasional reflux turns into a regular problem. Without treatment, GERD damages the esophagus, leading to inflammation, a narrowed esophagus, and a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus occurs when the cells change, turning into esophageal cancer for up to 7% of patients.

What does anti-reflux surgery involve?

The team treats GERD with a procedure called fundoplication. During this surgery, they wrap the top of your stomach around the LES. This strengthens the LES and restores its ability to work properly.

Call Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota today or request an appointment online if you struggle with GERD and want to learn about anti-reflux surgery.

Proudly accepting Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, HealthPartners, Humana, UCare, Medica and SecurityHealthPlan.