Just had Laroscopic Nissen Fundoplication - good experience so far!

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Hi Everyone,

I had the LNF surgery three days ago and just wanted to tell you my experience of it all as I was terrified of the surgery and of the side effects afterwards - so much so I considered cancelling it at the last minute! I read a lot of information on the web in the days leading up to the surgey (good and bad) and was left feeling that even people with what seemed to be good experiences seemed to be having a very hard time. As it is so far I've been pleasantly surprised!

I had surgery due to a loose gullet which was confirmed via endoscopy. I opted to not be sedated so I could get the results these are then (if you're sedated you get them a few days later as you tend not to be awake enough afterwards to take in the information). The endoscopy wasn't the most pleasant experience but was over fairly quickly and something I could do again if needed without being nervous about it.

I then had all of the PH testing which confirmed acid reflux and the associated tests for swallowing that confirmed that I was a good candidate for Nissens.

Fast forward to three days ago and arrived at the hospital very nervous about it all and feeling like I wanted to back out. I'd read information on the web about bloating, not being able to burp, not being able to vomit, dumping, diahorrea, etc. and couldn't see how I could live with all of that afterwards! My surgeon was very dismissive of most of my fears (in a good way) and confirmed that not being able to vomit may be a side effect and short term bloating may be an issue but the rest of the side effects won't be an issue. I really trust the surgeon as he has always been very open with facts and statistics so was happy to go ahead with the surgery.

Feedback from the surgeon was that the surgery was very straightforward. He found a Hitaus Hernia which hadn't showed up before which he fixed as part of the fundoplication.

Since the surgey I've had a lot of discomfort in my tummy area but I've put this down to the holes that were made for the procedure rather than the fundoplication as it is very localised on the surface of my tummy. My lungs have been a bit sore since too and breathing in deeply has been uncomfortable but both issues have eased over the past three days.

In terms of eating and drinking I'd been told by the surgeon to experiment with textures to see what I can handle which is much better than the clear fluids for a week I was expecting. So far I have been able to drink water, squash, Horlicks and Decaf coffee without any issues. It takes a lot longer to get through a drink as there is a feeling inside like a funnel where liquids get backed up a bit when I swallow too much but there is no pain associated with this and it goes away after a few seconds. I managed to each half a bowl of Weetabix the morning after the surgery, moving on to custard, semolina and chicken soup over the past couple of days, none of which was strained. I'm probably not drinking enough due to how long it takes but my bladder and bowel movements are pretty normal so I'm not too worried about that at this stage. Also I am able to burp after eating and drinking. Probably not voluntary at the moment but when my body feels like it needs to it does. The same goes for passing wind too although there seems to be a lot more of that than usual!

So far I have no regrets about the surgery and feel that it was definitely the right thing to do. I expected the weeks after the surgery to be difficult but so far haven't suffered too badly. I'm self employed and work from home on a computer and am aiming to do a few hours this afternoon building up to full-time again next week, one week after the surgery. However, if I wasn't working from home I don't know if I could manage working in a office at this stage yet and definitely couldn't handle a commute via car, train, etc.

Hopefully my experience might be useful to others. I know from what I read before my surgery most of what I found on the web was negative so hopefully I can keep you updated with a positive experience!

Cheers,

Ben

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  • Posted

    Day 4 after the operation and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm fully mobile again (with a bit of discomfort) and the bloating has eased a lot. I had a small setback yesterday after having some carrott and coriander soup. It had a lot more spice to it than I realised and half way through I started getting acid like symptoms and a hoarse voice. I'm hoping this is just the spice in the soup aggrevating the aftermath of the sugery and not true acid. It feel a lot better today so fingers crossed. I'm also finding lifting is getting easier including lifting a 1 year old baby and lifting the hoover up the stairs (not at the same time!) with no discomfort.

    All in all I feel my progress is going really well. I'll post back with further updates.

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  • Posted

    He Ben,

    Sorry for what you have gone through at such a young age. I am finding some comfort in reading your story, yet I still want to cancel my surgery. I am supposed to have this on Wed 23. I have know the date for a month, but I just met with my surgeon yesterday. I did not like what he told me oabout some of the possible side affects. I then went online and read so many horrifying stories. I have been in a lot of pain for over a year now with haetal hernia. I do have Barretts espohogis but don't have much problem from that. I am so scared right now to have all the problems that people are talking about. Some people are miserable and sorry they had this done. I just want to be free of pain and live again. Be able to eat what I want, workout at the gym, have a quality life. So I am wondering how you are now today, if symtoms are going away. Thanks for your postings, at least you give me some hope. Keep gettng well. I am scared so scared to do this I may cancel.

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    • Posted

      Steve. You have to weigh up the pros and cons of this surgery. The "side effects" are grossly exaggerated and if you are unlucky enough to experience any they shoukd clear within a couple of weeks as the scar tissue heals. Of nearly 200 patients who had the laparoscopic fundoplication 20 years ago, 94% were satisfied and would have done it again. You do hear horror stories which nearly put me off. I had been offered the operation 20 years ago but it would have been open surgery. But my quality of life had deteriiorated so much I was eventually desperate enough, I'd have had it by open surgery if necessary. So glad I had the courage to go through with it. It gave me my life back.
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    • Posted

      Hi Steve, I too was given the same stats as Barretts in that 94% of people who'd had the operation saw an improvement and would have it again. 3-4% of people were neutral in that they saw benefits but also had some side effects so had no overall benefit. In terms of the rest I don't know the breakdown of symptons or severity but there are options if you have side effects in terms of a re-do or a reversal and others. At my age the risk of the acid damaging my esophagus over the rest of my life and the possibility of esophagus cancer with its low survival rates was too much not to have the operation (obviously once I'd got my head around everything I'd read avout the side effects).

      I'll post an update at the top in a little bit but on day 5 I am recovering well and don't have any side effects that aren't improving. I would hazard a guess that these are side effects of the surgery itself rather than as a result of the procedure and will improve to a point where they disapear. So far I would 100% have this done again but everyone is different so you have you weigh up your own personal pros and cons and work out whether the potential benefits (which it sounds like there are a few for you) outweigh the reletively low risks statistically.

      One final thing that helped me make a decision was the experience of the surgeon that performed the operation. As far as I know he's once of the best in the country (a master surgeon I think) as these procedures and has performed Nissens around 350 times. This and his general approach and confidence really helped me to completely trust him and go ahead based on his re-assurances.

      Feel free to ask any more questions - I know it helps to read more positive posts at the point you are at!

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    • Posted

      Thanks Ben for responding. Its nice to talk to people who actually are going through this. I appreciate your time in responding. I left out a factor. After the year of almost unbearable pain from hernia, I have lost 11 pounds as I was very overweight. My doctors kept telling me if I lost weight the hernia would not hurt as bad. The reflux is some but mild in my case. I grt some heartburn if I eat too late or too much, but thats it. So I am wondering if I lost more weight and was pain free what woud be the purpose of surgery and having all these other symtoms. That is my delema. I tried to talk to my doctor all day Friday, but he was in surgery. i am down to the wire here as I am scheduled til Wednesday. He did tell me if I want to wait and think about it, see how things go we could re schedule at a later date. But I do worry about someday getting the cancer. I am much old than you howver as I just turned 60.
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    • Posted

      Hi Steve, I found a great research paper over the weekend which shows the percentage of people who have had a Nissens and have had complications. The rates are very low which is great reading if you need a bit of re-assurance:

      0–3 months

      Early satiety (88%)

      Bloating/flatulence (64%)

      Dysphagia (34%)

      Constipation (7%)

      Diarrhea (9%)

      Odynophagia (3%)

      Nausea (5%)

      Hiccups (4%)

      3–12 months

      Early satiety (0%)

      Bloating/flatulence  (4%)

      Dysphagia (0.8%)

      Constipation (0%)

      Diarrhea (1%)

      Odynophagia (0%)

      Nausea (0%)

      Hiccups (0%)

      Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3015672/

      Cheers, Ben

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    • Posted

      Thanks Ben. Hope you ae doing well. I appreciate the time and the research.  2 days away and still not sure. I may have to postpone til Nov due to work conflict and I need more time to think about all this info thrown at me 4 days before. I wish I could have met with my surgeon a little sooner. I am waiting for him to call. I am also asking him if he can repair my hernia without doing the full fundoplication for now as I am not having a lot of problems with the reflux. My problem is a constant pain above my stomach on right side (behind rib cage). I think this is being caused by my hiatel hernia. They don't have back yet the results of swallowing test. Will post later. Hope you have a great day and keep healing.
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    • Posted

      Steve whatever you decide good luck. Thankfully I am seeing my Consultant a week earlier than planned tomorrow and funnily enough I am hoping he can do a fun do.. as I just seem to be getting worse.I am getting even more worried as I have had an aching right arm for six weeks now. I understand if it was the left arm it could be my heart but why the right arm I don't know.
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    • Posted

      Hi Barrets my gastroscopy is booked for 5 October . Absolutely dreading it . Has colonoscopy done so it surely can't be any worse . Just dreading what they will find as been having swallowing issues but it's not got worse . Had a weekend away in London and gave into lager and a Thai meal . Been on ranitidine for a week now .
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    • Posted

      Good luck for 5th. It's particularly you have the scope if you,ve been having swallowing problems to determine there's nothing sinister going on.

      I love Thai meals. Travelling in Thailand when I had been having really severe heartburn, I had no problems with any of the food. On my return, I mentioned it to my advanced nurse specialist who was asiatic and he said the chillis can have a slight anaesthetic effect.

      Opt for sedation and you'll wonder why you were worried.

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    • Posted

      Yes it's a bit worrying . But the swallowing issue could be due to my muscular dystrophy .

      Should I be worried or do a lot of people with acid reflux get swallowing issues. It has improved slightly since I've been on drugs .

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    • Posted

      From Down with Acid book:

      "Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) may be attributable to a number of causes. Anyone experiencing swallowing difficulty should see their doctor to have it checked out straight away.They may be caused by diseases which cause malfunctions in the brain such as Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis or Motor Neurone Disease, muscle dysfunction caused by stroke, achalasia whereby the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter doesn't relax sufficiently or stricture or narrowing of the oesophagus which may be due to a tumour."

      As you say, yours could be due to muscular dystrophy and probably nothing sinister.

      What drugs  helped? Muscle reaxants are commonly prescribed but exacerbate reflux or domperidone (Motillium / Reglan) may assist.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ben . How are you doing now? Can you please inform me the name of the surgeon and which hospital he is at? I'm a foreigner who went to London and am looking for a good surgeon to do the nissen surgery for me and came across a surgeon who turned out to have a "shady" history so I need another one whom I could trust.. Many thanks
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    • Posted

      Hi, It's been 6 months now and on the whole things are going really well. I haven't had any real noticable side effects that I can attribute to the surgery and feel back to normal again. There are a few things that aren't quite right:

      1. IBS type symptoms. I had these before the surgery and presume these were due to the lanzoprazole. Since the surgery they seem to be a bit worse but they could have got worse without the surgery too so it's hard to know whether this is a side effect or not. My feeling is it isn't.

      2. Appetite - I still don't feel like I'm able to eat as much as I used to. I lost around 11lbs in the weeks after the surgery and found for 2-3 months I was eating about half of what I'd eaten previously. My appetite has increased but not yet to what it was. I'm guessing around 75% of what it was previously.

      3. I get a few aches and pains in my stomach area now and again but nothing that bothers me too much. 

      On the plus side:

      1. I'm eating pretty much anything I want

      2. There is no acid reflux now at all

      3. Apart from the odd occasion I don't have any problems swallowing food. Once in a while something gets a bit stuck, usually when I'm not thinking about what I'm doing and I swallow food without chewing it properly.

      4. I'm able to drink some carbonated drinks including Guiness, Ale, Shloer, etc. I've tried lager but struggled to get through it and managed a rum and coke after stirring it a little bit to get rid of some of the fizz.

      All in all I am very happy with the results and given the choice knowing what I know now I would have the operation performed again.

      The surgeon was Guy Finch and he is based at Northampton general hospital (NHS) and the Three Shires Hospital in Northampton (private). I would highly recommend him. He was always very informative around the risks and benefits of the procedure and had a way about him that put my mind at rest with confidence in his abilities.

      Hope that helps!

      Good luck!

      Ben

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