Should I fundoplicate?
December 8, 2009 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Have you, or has someone you know, had the nissen fundoplication procedure for severe GERD?

I am experiencing complications from reflux. Yes, the head of my bed is elevated, I don't eat for hours before bedtime and I take medicines. *Please do not tell me the horrible things that can happen due to uncontrolled reflux, because I know and I am already anxious about it.* What I'd like to learn about are the positive and negative effects of fundoplication. Did you have severe side effects such as being unable to vomit when sick? Was the procedure effective and/or did it hold up over time? How uncomfortable was the procedure itself? How does one find the right person to do it in the first place? I'm in a small city without a nearby teaching hospital.
In addition, I have just been prescribed kapidex and would be interested in hearing whether you've had side effects from this med.
THank you so much for sharing any experiences.
posted by fullofragerie to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Jeremy Broomfield mentions it a few times in his blog; he underwent the surgery once, it 'slipped' and had to be redone.
posted by axiom at 7:14 PM on December 8, 2009

Best answer: I know someone who has had it. It changed their life for the better in so many ways, and they are certainly still able to vomit when they need to—they're just not vomiting every five to 10 minutes for no reason, like they were before the surgery. It's now been more than five years and theirs has been holding up fine.

A good place to look for a surgeon qualified to do the procedure in your area would be one of the Top Doctors lists, such as this one. I don't know how the person I know who's had the procedure found their surgeon, but that's one place to start; their surgeon is definitely on the list in our area.
posted by limeonaire at 7:40 PM on December 8, 2009

(Also, if searching the list I linked doesn't pull up anything—it didn't for my area, although I know for a fact that many, many doctors in my area are listed as Top Docs—try checking out your local city or regional magazine's website. Many make searchable Top Doctors listings available through their websites.)
posted by limeonaire at 7:42 PM on December 8, 2009

limoaire - those magazine "top doctors" listings are based entirely on reputation, rather than quality measurements, and the correlation between the two can be pretty weak.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:57 PM on December 8, 2009

Best answer: I had it done...31 years ago. I'm sure the procedures have changed since then. One thing I know, for instance, is that now it's laproscopic, so you won't end up with a scar from your chest to your belly button (like some people my wife knows).

Mine was very effective, after about 20 years I started having a little bit of reflux, mostly when drinking milk. It didn't do anything for my asthma, which is why it was done to begin with, but it did control the reflux quite well.

I'd hesitate to talk about the surgery itself, since it's so different now, but it was uncomfortable for about a week, and I had to be pretty careful about what I ate for a few weeks.

The only really significant downside you've already mentioned, and that's the lack of vomiting. In the time since the surgery, I've had stomach flu, food poisoning and, uh, overindulgence in alcoholic beverages. In all cases, I've needed to throw up really badly, and have not. (gross filter warning) It's extraordinarily unpleasant, like the dry heaves, except that they aren't really dry. As a reference point, I'd say it's been about 5 times since I had the surgery that the issue has come up, and the food poisoning was far and away the worst time. Not too frequently, but your constitution may differ from mine.

For me, it's hard to say if it is worth it. I don't know what other downsides to reflux there are, since the only reason I did it was in an attempt to alleviate severe chronic asthma. If you're concerned about other health issues, decide whether you can tolerate not throwing up once in a while.
posted by Gorgik at 10:42 PM on December 8, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all the helpful info so far. I would love to hear from more people too.
posted by fullofragerie at 5:10 AM on December 9, 2009

limoaire - those magazine "top doctors" listings are based entirely on reputation, rather than quality measurements, and the correlation between the two can be pretty weak.

Yeah, that's true. But it's a place to begin if the OP has few connections.
posted by limeonaire at 5:19 AM on December 9, 2009

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