New Jersey Bariatric Center
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Can Weight Loss Surgery Help with Acid Reflux?

By Dr. Michael Fastiggi | February 2, 2022

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), affects more than 20% of adults. It occurs when the acid in your stomach “backs up” into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in your chest. Other symptoms may include nausea, pain/difficulty swallowing, cough and bad breath. The first line of treatment often involves long term acid lowering medications, but many patients ask will GERD go away if they lose weight. 

We often tell patients that losing weight along with lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and avoiding common triggers such as caffeine, spicy foods, and stress, can help treat symptoms of GERD. And, an effective way to jumpstart weight loss and treat both obesity and GERD is with gastric sleeve or bypass. By losing the excess weight after either of these procedures, you decrease the abdominal pressure that causes symptoms of GERD. 

Is weight loss surgery right for me?                                                                                           

A discussion with your surgeon can help you decide if weight loss surgery is right for you. And, if you have GERD, do not want to take acid lowering medications long term, have a loosened valve (hiatal hernia), or you are at risk for severe complications from acid reflux, weight loss surgery can help to alleviate your symptoms in addition to helping you lose weight. It’s important to discuss these conditions with your doctor to determine the best weight loss surgery procedure for you.

Which procedure is better for acid reflux?

Both the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery can improve GERD if it’s due to being overweight. There is no one size fits all when it comes to which procedure will be better for GERD. Rather, a surgeon will have an in depth discussion with you prior to surgery to best determine what procedure would fit you best. In addition, if acid reflux is due to a loosened valve (hiatal hernia), then this will be fixed at the time of your surgery which will improve your acid reflux symptoms almost immediately. Within a short period of time after the procedure, relief of all symptoms of acid reflux usually occurs. 

If you suffer with acid reflux and want to schedule a consultation, call us at 908-481-1270.

Dr. Michael Thomas Fastiggi is board certified in general surgery, with advanced fellowship training in bariatric surgery, foregut surgery, and minimally invasive surgery. He attended medical school at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and was elected into both the Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism honors societies. Dr. Fastiggi then completed his general surgery residency training at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY. After graduating residency, he went on to do a fellowship at Cleveland University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. He performed bariatric surgical procedures, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures.
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