Few studies have addressed this question. Short-term studies (2 years after surgery) show that surgery decreases the risk of esophagitis on endoscopy and improves acid reflux symptoms when compared to those patients who only take medications. However, medications are effective for alleviating both symptoms and esophagitis. A long-term study by Spechler and associates that was published in 2003 in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at patients 9 to 10 years after anti-reflux surgery and compared them to patients treated only with medication. The authors found that more than 60% of those who had the operation required medication for acid reflux in the long term. This study was done by gastroenterologists who treat acid reflux and may be more objective about surgical results than surgeons can be.
A 2005 French study showed that at 5 years after surgery, nearly 10% of patients required a proton pump inhibitor. The authors did not comment on the need for other anti-acid medications such as H2 blockers.
So, the data suggest that surgery is effective in the short term, for a couple years, and helps improve acid reflux symptoms and esophagitis and decreases the need for medication. But in the long term, some patients will require medication for acid reflux.
By Mortin - Copyright 2010
Last modification 05/02/2010
Will I Still Need Acid Reflux Medications After Surgery? References