3 year update after Heller myotomy

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I was diagnosed with achalasia after having an x-ray, barium swallow, and manometry. I opted for a Heller myotomy with Toupee fundoplication because of my own research on the treatments available and the experience of the surgeons in my area. I had the procedure 3 years ago with no complications.

My stomach returned to its normal size probably within the first year and I'm eating full meals. I still have acid reflux, but it's not too bad and can be controlled with antacids like Gaviscon or a 2-week cycle of an H2 antagonist like Zantac. I don't need medication if I elevate the head of my bed and sleep on a wedge pillow. Controlling my diet also helps, such as not eating 3 hours before bedtime or eating trigger foods like chocolate at night. I still get heartburn (or spasms?) every so often from coffee or beer, but taking a few large gulps of cold water eliminates them. This is a trick that I discovered when I had severe spasms lasting hours.

I have no food restrictions, but I do need to eat certain foods carefully. This includes sticky rice (e.g. sushi), tough meat (e.g. steak that's difficult to chew into smaller pieces), and spongy bread that can get stuck in my esophagus. If I don't chew these foods properly, I get that choking sensation that causes me to produce a lot of saliva. It usually passes within a few minutes, but hitting my back or jumping helps when it's particularly severe . For some strange reason, Vietnamese Pho is the absolute worst and I struggle to eat it.

Overall, I'm satisfied with the surgery. I just had an endoscopy and the wrap is still intact. My condition is almost never on my mind, and things like sleeping on a wedge pillow, taking a 2-week cycle of antacids, or chewing certain foods more carefully just becomes part of life.

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3 Replies

  • Posted

    Thanks for sharing your experience, and I am really glad that things have worked out so well.

    The Toupet fundoplication is a 'wrap' that is not so comprehensive as a Nissen, and often works well, depending on each patient's circumstances.

    It is not unusual for some foods to act as triggers for problems after an otherwise successful treatment.

    You may have to keep the anti-reflux medication under review just to ensure that it is at an optimal level. It is also good that you had a check-up at the 3-year point after the myotomy.

    I hope that things continue to go well for you.

  • Posted

    excellent news, I also had the operation which was good for 1 year but then was so ill after eating a crumpet. Thankfully i do not touch bread, crumpets or rice which has made a great difference but i now have botox injection every 6 months plus still take lanzoprozile and gaviscon. whenever i have eaten something that stuck i have found milk has been the answer which was recommended y someone on this site. i am pleased with the wonderful surgeon that did the operation & who now performs the botox , I am so grateful to him as i now lead a normal life but obviously very careful to what I eat, I avoid red meats & stick to chicken and fish but do do not touch bread.

  • Posted

    I am happy for you . my own case is a different case but I think I will imitate some of the things u do .

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