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Nissen Fundoplication Scheduled - Looking for Guidance & Support
SCjason posted:
Hey Everyone,

This is my first time posting here but after doing a lot of research on Nissen's, this forum seemed to be the most updated. I am 32 and have been suffering from GERDS since I was 18 when I was diagnosed with it after it put me in the hospital for trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. On the 3rd day the Dr's did an Endoscopy and located several ulcers in my esophagus and said I had GERDS.

My family doctor treated me for about 8 years but every new medicine that he would give me would last around 2 years and stop working. Finally, he referred me to a digestive disease doctor. He continued with medications and performed an Endoscopy on me every two years. Again, around that time the previous medicine would cease working. Eventually, I ended up taking the most recent medication, Dexilant (formerly Kapidex). I started off at 30mg, then 60 mg. Back in December it stopped working and he then put me on a cocktail of Dexilant, Pepcid, and Protonix. That cocktail worked for 3 weeks and quit working in January.

My GI Dr. said I was a great candidate for a Nissen and referred me to a surgeon trained in performing the procedure. I hesitated at first and decided against it, but the symptoms were getting worse. My last Bravo gave an above average reflux reading every 15 to 20 minutes with or without food. He told me that there were no more medications on the market so I went and saw 2 highly recommended surgeons in my area. After choosing the one I felt the most comfortable with, he scheduled me for the motility test (which by the way calling it hell would be an understatement) and then he also did a stomach emptying test on me.

I am scheduled for the surgery in June. I understand that sometimes the Internet can be the worst of enemies but it seems like for every 1 feel good story that I read, I am reading 9 horror stories. Needless to say I am not wanting to have the procedure done to simply stop taking medications, nor am I wanting to have it done because I have had reflux for only 6 months so I think after suffering from it for as long as I have, I would possibly have a more positive outcome then others who rushed into the surgery. But needless to say, after reading forum after forum, this procedure really has me scared. I had a ventral hernia repair done 4 years ago so I am well aware of the uncomfortable recovery that comes after a abdominal laproscopic procedure and I am prepared to handle that. But I just can't get past wondering if the side effects of a Nissen is better than living with GERDS which has just become a common part of my life?

The surgeon was very positive (of course). He did tell me the recovery would be long, that I would be on a liquid diet for 2 to 4 weeks, that I would not be able to burp or vomit, and that after 10 to 15 years the surgery MAY become ineffective so it wasn't like he blindsided me, but I am still very hesitant to have this done.

I am not sure if I am looking for support, reassurance, or just a reason to run but any comments would greatly help me either way.

Thanks everyone!!
suzyq073 responded:
I'm actually scheduled for the same surgery in September and was looking for answers too when I came across your post, especially about whether living with the possible side effects like the inability to burp or vomit, gas bloat syndrome, etc. etc as opposed to living with the acid reflux, sitting up to sleep and such that I am dealing with now. Simply put, I'm terrified. This is a huge lifestyle change if all the information I have been reading is true. Can you please tell me how it went for you? Are you glad you had it done or wish you hadn't? Is it worth it?
Thank you!
shiftworkerinicu responded:
I am an ICU nurse, and I have seen ONE complication from this procedure. It was quite serious but the patient ended up being ok. Any surgery has risks. And it can be risky to have GED, too. Doesn't it predispose you to cancer of the esophagus? My point is that this is an invasive surgery and of course you have to measure its benefits to its risks (or the risks you are willing/not willing to take)

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