Category Archive: Health & Medical Tips

Jul 18

Laparascopic Nissen Fundoplication – 6 months later

Here’s a followup article to the one I posted about my Laprascopic Nissen Fundoplication procedure. I am happy to say that things have gone very well for me. Read on to see what has happened over first 6 months after having my operation…

In a nutshell, the results of the operation have been wonderful. My doctor did what’s called a “floppy wrap” which apparently isn’t as tight as some wraps are done. You may want to ask your doctor to explain this.

Since the operation, I have had ZERO indigestion or reflux, and I have taken ZERO reflux-related medication. Not only is this better for my body, but it is significantly less costly!

Swallowing food was a challenge at first. I had to very quickly learn to take very small bites of things and to chew very thoroughly. I also felt I was getting fuller faster. I had to be very careful with certain types of breads and “sticky” foods, and chicken gave me some occasional problems at times. But, once I learned to take smaller bites and chew thoroughly, it made things much easier–so much so that now, I can eat pretty much anything. After about a month on soft foods, and a followup doctor’s appointment, my wife treated me to some Sushi, my favorite food! I was very hesitant because of the sticky rice, but it went down well and I felt great.

Since the operation, I dropped some weight because of my changed eating habits. I went down from 225+ pounds to 205 pounds, and I have been maintaining that weight now for probably three months. That’s great news for me. As for what I can eat, I can now pretty much eat whatever I want–I just have to pay attention to bite sizes and to chew thoroughly.

That’s all the good stuff. Now, what have been some of the side effects? This type of operation can lead to some common side effects…

1. Swallowing
The swallowing difficulties typically come in the form of occasional spasming of the esophagus near where the nissen was performed. Food sometimes gets “stuck”, and the spasming can be quite uncomfortable–kind of a tightening feel in the chest that can be somewhat painful. (I admit though, that it’s more mentally disturbing than physical…) I just stop eating at that point, calm down, straighten up my posture, take some quiet deep breaths, and wait for it to pass. In almost every case, it just passes without incident, and nicely reminds me to pay attention to what and how I am eating.

I did say “almost”…I had two “major” incidents where I thought something was really stuck bad, and it panicked me. The feeling did pass within a few minutes (which can seem like an eternity.) It was my own fault because I didn’t chew thoroughly, but it was a lesson learned.

2. Stomach Issues
You may or may not be able to belch or vomit like you used to. The operation prevents stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus, but remember, your stomach will still produce acid, so you can still suffer some stomach-related indigestion symptoms. They just do not come in the form of reflux or “backing up” of anything. You still need to watch your diet and stress levels. Not being able to belch is quite strange at first. I learned the hard way one time: I drank about a half can of soda pop and watched my stomach begin to distend because of the gas buildup. And I couldn’t burp out the gas to save my life! Never did that again! OK, not to get gross on you, but the fact is that as your stomach produces extra acids and gas, it only has two directions it can go. Because the nissen shuts off the esophagus direction…well, you get the idea. Simply put, expect some more frequent lower gas symptoms, and occasional diarrhea or loose bowels.

3. Chest sensitivity
We recently purchased a home gym, and it has been a wonderful device to help keep in shape. I just have to be careful doing any exercise that stresses my chest muscles too much. While the laprascopic procedure is minimally invasive, the fact is that you still have five holes in your chest that must heal. I never did any exercises that did any damage, but chest and abdominal exercises sometimes result in soreness. So, I just tempered my male ego, lowered the weights, and worked on doing more reps. So far, I seem to be doing well.

All in all, the procedure has has been a great success for me. Understand that different people have different results, so please don’t take my experience as a reflection of how yours will go. That said, success rates are very, very high. For me, the simple fact that I have not had any reflux, and I have not taken any medication (antiacid, Nexium, etc.) since the operation has made everything–including the side effects–completely worth it.

One final recommendation: If you have a spouse, relative, or close friend with whom you spend a lot of time, by all means ask them to help hold you accountable with your eating habits. My wife would regularly say, “That bite is too big!” or “You’re eating too fast!”, and though it was admittedly annoying at times, it really helped me focus better, and for that I am grateful.

I hope you found this interesting. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Permanent link to this article:

Jan 31

Laparascopic Nissen Fundoplication?

This article is very, very much off topic from my usual tips & tricks, but I thought it would be at least informative and hopefully helpful to some to relay a solution to a health problem I’ve been having. For years, I was suffering from severe GERD and Reflux which led to complications and severe damage in my esophagis. After discussions with doctors and surgeons, I decided to have a surgical procedure called a “Laparascopic Nissen Fundoplication.” Though it is still very soon after the operation, the results have been excellent. Read on for more information on this procedure…

I’m 39 years old, and I have suffered from GERD AND REFLUX for many years. I had been taking GAVISCON like it was candy, and carried it with me wherever I went “just to be sure.” About six years ago, the reflux was getting worse and worse, keeping me up at night. On occasion, I would bolt up in bed choking and coughing after having reflux that would choke me. It felt like the back of my throat was burning, and it hurt to breathe. I scheduled an endoscopy that revealed that I had a HIATAL HERNIA and severe BARRETT’S ESOPHAGUS. Biopsies came back clean, but I had to change my eating habits, have an endoscopy every two years, and the doctor put me on PRILOSEC. What a relief. Prilosec was truly a miracle pill. My life literally changed being able to eat and sleep with practically zero ill effects.

Unfortunately, over time, the medication became very slowly less and less effective. My doctor switched me to NEXIUM, and again, life was good. After a number of “good” months, the doctor recommended that I try weaning myself off of the Nexium. Our goal was for me to not have to take medication for the rest of my life. Well it seemed that after several days of “backing off” I would have reflux in some form or another.

In 2004, we moved from the Chicago area to South Carolina. I was trying to wean myself off of Nexium, but I still had occasional reflux. I saw a local Gastroenterologist, and after my scheduled two-year endoscopy, he said that my lower esophageal sphincter muscle wasn’t working properly. In other words, the valve that goes between my esophagus and my stomach didn’t work, thus the reflux. He said that while medication could and did control the acid, I still suffered reflux, and it was medically unclear as to what kind of damage non-acidic reflux could be doing.

We discussed a LAPARASCOPIC NISSEN FUNDOPLICATION, and my wife and I decided that it would be a good solution to attempt to “fix” the problem. So I went into the hospital on a Tuesday in January, 2005, they fixed my hiatal hernia and did the fundoplication. I was discharged the following day. The week following, they removed my staples from my incisions, and now I’m healing nicely. Five small abdominal scars, and just a bit of discomfort. (Note to self: Don’t ever shave your chest!)

Eating has been interesting. In the hospital, I was on a “full liquid” diet, and the day I was discharged, the doctor said that I could immediately start on “soft” foods, avoiding certain foods like meats, breads, etc. I have been very faithful to his instructions, and only had a few “incidents” where food got “stuck” while eating. Each time, it was either because I was eating too fast or wasn’t chewing thoroughly. Fortunately, they are “behaviors” that can be modified. I am able to belch slightly, but sometimes it’s difficult. The surgeon said he did a “floppy wrap” meaning it’s not as tight as it could be. THe upside of this is that I should have less problems swallowing, and limited belching is possible. The down side is that it may or may not actually “fix” all the symptoms I was having. But so far, here’s the great news: since my surgery, I have not taken any Nexium nor have I had any reflux! Something I haven’t been able to proclaim for years!

Now, two weeks later, I’m still eating soft foods, but it’s going down very well. I have a followup appointment with the surgeon this week, so I’ll let you know what happens. My immediate goal: Get to a recovery point where I can finally eat sushi–I miss sushi!

Note of disclaimer: Please understand that this procedure is not for everyone. Consult with your physician or specialist to see what other options you have.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

Oh, and by all means, do some research on the Internet to better understand your problems. I found a neat “support” site that has a number of personal “stories” from a number of people who have had a fundoplication operation. The site is:

Thanks to “Gene” for maintaining that site!

Permanent link to this article: