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Digestive Disorders

2004 Edition

New Research:
Medication Often Needed After GERD Surgery

While most people who undergo laparoscopic fundoplication for GERD are satisfied with the procedure, a new study shows that many still need to take medication or develop new symptoms after the surgery.

All physicians “involved with laparoscopic antireflux surgery must admit to their patients that the procedure may not be a ‘lifelong cure,’” the author of an accompanying editorial writes.

In the study of 80 patients from Milwaukee who underwent the antireflux surgery an average of 20 months earlier, 61% said they were satisfied with the surgery. However, 32% still required medication on a regular basis to control their symptoms. And over two thirds of participants experienced new symptoms after surgery—the most common were bloating, excessive gas, and difficulty swallowing. About 11% of patients needed surgery to treat difficulty swallowing, and 7% underwent a repeat fundoplication procedure because of persistent systems.

Patients underwent the surgery because they believed it would cure their condition (27%), didn’t want to take medication for years (15%), or thought surgery would help prevent esophageal cancer (4%). The authors conclude that patients should be better informed about what to expect after antireflux surgery.

The American Journal of Medicine
Volume 114, pages 1 and 71
January 2003


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Digestive Disorders

The Digestive Disorders White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.



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