Achalasia - Heller's Myotomoy (with partial funoplication) Recovery time

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Hi, .. can anyone give me an idea of recovery times - I've heard so many different things.  I know everyone is different, but am looking for guidelines.  I'm in Australia - it's been difficult to find much info for this procedure let alone surgeons willing to discuss success rates.  Thank You

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    Its an interesting question and I think because everyone is different in terms of severity of condition, fitness, general health, mental outlook, it must be a nightmare for medical professionals to be presented with that question. I asked the same!

    You might be better to see what responses you get to your question and take an average.

    Here's my story. I had the Hellers with Partial Fundoplication on the 22nd May this year. This was done with Keyhole surgery. I got admitted on the Thursday, operation on the Friday, home on the Saturday. I was advised to not drive for 7 to 10 days and to take at least two weeks off. I have an office based job but I'm sure if you had a more physical job you may require longer. 

    By the end of the fortnight I was definitely ready to resume work. I started driving on about the 9th day.

    I had Tramodol pain killers for a few days, but they gave me unpleasant side effects, so ditched them and used paracetomol instead which I kept going as a precaution.

    I was advised to wait 6 weeks before doing anything too physical. I nearly started going to the gym after 4-5 weeks but took the advice of other people in this group who advised holding off. I've since returned to the gym for aerobic type exercise, and a few light weights. Also I was walking the dog from about day 4-5.

    I would say my life has pretty much returned to normal, I can eat pretty much anything. I do get the occasional chest pain, but nothing to worry about.

    Success rates? My surgeon stated it was about an 85-90% success rate as measured over a few years. He put the chances of Acid Reflux after Hellers at about 50%, but this drops drastically if the partial fundoplication is done, so he recommended doing as a 'just-in-case'. I took his advice.

    Just my story. Sure you'll get some better and some worse experiences written here.

    All the best!

     

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    • Posted

      Hi David,  Thanks heaps for your story .  re-assuring and very practical. 

      Do you find you still need pain killers.  (May isn't that long ago !!!) Your advice is much appreciated.  Thank You

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    • Posted

      Hi. I think I was lucky with regards to pain relief. Immediately after the operation, I was on tramadol and paracetomol every 4 hours. To be honest at the time, I never felt I actually needed it, which just goes to show it was probably working and the 4 hour frequency was correct!

      I was discharged from hospital with enough pain killers and paracetomol  (liquid form) for two weeks. Initially I stuck religiously to the 4 hour frequency, however they made me very tired and pretty 'spaced'. So I stopped taking them and only took them at night. I gave up completely on pain killers by the Tuesday (operation was on the friday). Although I kept taking the paracetomol. I began to reduce that and gave up on that a week after the operation.

      Over the few weeks after the operation I had some internal chest pain, but nothing too bad. When I returned to work (two weeks after the operation) I would get some pain from turning round in the swivel office chair, but that was something I learnt to avoid. 

      I didn't really lift anything heavy for a while, becuase I didn't want to put any strain on the key hole punctures wounds.

      There was also a bit of pain from the scabs where the puncture wounds were, but that reminded me of being a little boy again and picking scabs off my generally blooded knees!

      However like I said, I think everyone has a different story to tell with this condition!

      Also this was done with Key hole surgery, if you have to have the operation done without key hole I beieve the recovery time is much much longer.

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    • Posted

      Hi David .. appreciate your experience .. with the internal chest pain was it the same as reflux? 

      Driving - do you drive an auto or manual vehicle .. again the advice seems to differ.

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    • Posted

      Hi Elliott,

      I'm not entirely sure what the chest pain was. I think it was just the internal healing process. I suppose everything is jumbled around inside and needs to settle back in to place. Also there is stitching involved with the partial fundopolication, so I guess that takes some time to heal.

      Also I think my esophagus was in a bit of a mess as it was expanded and it would go into Spasm prior to the procedure. So I suspect the pain was all to do with esophagus returning to normal.

      Apologies for the vaguery above, but its difficult to explain and also to fully understand whats going on inside!

      I drive a manual car by the way.

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  • Posted

    Hello.

    I had my Heller's Myotomy and Fundoplication exactly 7 weeks ago, and am feeling well. I was on sloppy diet for 3 weeks, but now can eat pretty much what I like, but avoiding bread and doughy things. I was, up until a week ago, needing paracetamol for discomfort but my surgeon assured it was normal. I have been off work since surgery as I work with 5 year olds, but if I had a less physically demanding job I could have gone back after 4-5 weeks.

    I hope that is of some help. I'm in the UK, information is hard to come by!

    I wish you well.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Tisherbell for your info .. working with 5 yo's would be physically demanding & info I think in most places is hard to come by. Also it seems that recovery differs so much as to how fit you are going into the operation.  Thanks for your good wishes
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  • Posted

    General rule of thumb:   drink straight away the next day; soft diet after a few days;   solids after 1 week or 2 weeks.   Generally 1 - 4 days in hospital depending on age, fitness, whether revision (ie adjusting earlier surgery) or not and whether previous dilatations and botox.  

    Thereafter take it steady and gently progressive exercise, with wide variation on how people can cope, depending on levels of ftintess and so on you had before the surgery.

    Hope this helps

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  • Posted

    Hi there,

    My achalacia was at the point where not only could I not keep any solid food down but even water was coming back up.  ​I had my Hellers second week in March and ended up staying in hospital for a week as I ended up with a partially collapsed lung due to something the hospital did.  

    Unfortunately the hospital I had to go to has a very bad reputation where inpatients are concerned.  It was written above my bed that I was to be given liquid diet only following the operation but I was given roast dinner and other such foods.  I was on oramorph so I didn't know. I was told that a nutritionist would come to see me to discuss what I could and could not eat when I went home though no one bothered so I came home shooting in the dark as to what to eat.  I was given NO information by the hospital.  Due to all this, my recovery took a long time, in fact its only over the last 3 weeks that I am eating normally.

    One thing I would say to you elliott is that when I asked my GP when I would be back to normal, he said that one size does not fit all and recovery time for one person is not the same for all.  He also told me that had the hospital given me the information I needed concerning eating at home, I would have recovered a lot quicker.  I can say though that now I am eating properly, nothing has come back up.

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    • Posted

      Thank Kathy for sharing .. seems like it takes around 3 months to get back eating proper 'food'  Sounds like your hospital left a lot to 'guess' work - do you still have any 'reflux' issues or pain
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  • Posted

    To be honest, I think if the hospital had told me what I could and could not eat I would have recovered a lot quicker.  I have had no problems since the operation. There is now nothing I cannot eat.
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    • Posted

      Hi Kathy .. that's great to hear that you can eat everything.  It's a shame some hospitals just don't provide adequate information .. it's not as though Achalasia is a common complaint.  I look forward to eating well down the track. Again many thanks
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  • Posted

    I had that exact same procedure in 2007 at age 34 years. Two nights in the hospital, two weeks sick leave. I remember feeling "normal" with a full range of motion and a solid diet after about 2 months. I had lost so much weight prior to the surgery, much of my feeling better was probably attributable to weight and nutritional restoration. For me, the surgery was a lifesaver. I immediately felt relief when eating/drinking. Eight years post-op and I can eat everything so long as I drink enough water before, during, and after meals. The exception is carbonated beverages. Seriously, I had a beer last year and it caused weeks of painful gas and bloating--that is due to the partial fundoplication. Now there are also even less invasive techniques available (POEM) but I was very happy with my outcome. Good luck to you. 
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