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HealthBeat: Banishing Heartburn

May 14, 2003, 5:40 PM by Jaine Andrews

Click here to watch this story(Windows Media) Most people are able to spell relief for their heartburn with an antacid or a prescription pill. But for those who can't, surgery may be the only answer to cool the burn. The medical term for this operation is a Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication, it's not nearly as complicated as it sounds. When the little purple pill just wouldn't cool the burn anymore, Renae Hagemann says, "My pain would become worse, I'd have to supplement with a lot of Maalox during the day." Renae Hagemann knew she could only spell relief "O-R." Surgeon Dr. Donald Graham says, "The Nissen Wrap is reconstituting the lower esophageal sphincter, not really a mechanical valve, but a pressure zone between esophagus and the stomach." To you and me, that means the surgeon takes the upper part of the stomach and wraps it around the lower part of the esophagus. The result is a narrower opening that won't let stomach acids back up. The surgery itself can take anywhere from an hour to two hours to complete, then it's overnight in the hospital before going home." The result should last a lifetime. Dr. Graham says, "I think they'll see the results immediately. They'll tell you the first day they're not having the reflux symptoms." As for Renae, she says she's just looking forward to, "No more heartburn." Renae's surgery was covered by insurance. She'll be on a bland, soft diet for the next couple of weeks. Nissen Wrap Learning to Live With Chronic Heartburn GERD Online

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