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The Problem of Heartburn / Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease – GERD after sleeve gastrectomy, bypass operation or mini gastric bypass and its management.

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The Problem

Many patients can suffer from mild or debilitating Reflux / Heartburn / Regurgitation of acid/food in the throat after Sleeve Gastrectomy, bypass operation or mini gastric bypass. Understanding the problem and its solutions, helps cure the reflux after these weightloss operations.

GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) in common in overweight people. Losing weight can help improve the reflux (GERD). Patients undergoing Sleeve gastrectomy can have reflux before the surgery and in some patients the reflux may even get better after surgery due to weight loss. However, about 30% of patients may develop neo (new) heartburn/ Reflux/ GERD after sleeve gastrectomy. Overall, 60% of the patients after sleeve gastrectomy can suffer from heartburn.

The heartburn after sleeve gastrectomy may be mild or severe. Mild reflux can be managed with simple measures; however, severe reflux can be debilitating and disrupts normal lifestyle.

Complications of Reflux

One should seek resolution of reflux and its symptoms as severe reflux can cause many problems:

  • Severe symptoms of debilitating heartburn
  • Sore throat with acid/bile taste in mouth
  • Cough
  • Chest infections
  • Exacerbation of asthma
  • Mouth sores, dental and gum problems
  • Blocked nose or symptoms of sinusitis
  • Damage to the esophagus (food pipe) which may lead to ulcers
  • Cancer of esophagus, which, has poor outcomes

Controlling mild reflux / GERD after sleeve gastrectomy

Conservative measures
Mild reflux after sleeve gastrectomy can be controlled with dietary adjustments. Taking small dry meals and drinking an hour before meals helps. One should avoid eating 3-4 hours before going to bed. Using extra pillows and propping up the head end of the bed may also help.

 Use of medicines to help control GERD post Sleeve gastrectomy
Medication like PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) and antacids do help to relieve the symptoms. Medication is more effective when the conservative measures described above are also observed. These medicines can be bought over the counter.

Surgical Treatment of Reflux

Option of surgery must be considered, if all conservative measures and medical treatments have failed to control Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease – GERD after sleeve gastrectomy or other weightloss operations.

After failure of conservative and medical treatment one must not keep suffering and cause damage to gullet, throat or lungs and should consider surgical treatment options.

Current Surgical Treatment offered to sleeve gastrectomy patients to control reflux / GERD / Heartburn

Traditionally, the patients in this scenario are offered a gastric bypass operation.

We believe that Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) is a better choice of operation

Potential risks associated with Gastric Bypass After Sleeve Gastrectomy Operation

Potential risks associated with Gastric Bypass operation in this situation

Gastric bypass is a major operation involving resection (cutting) and anastomoses (joining the intestines). In majority of the cases this will be safe. However, its potential risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Anastomotic leakage
  • Severe sepsis leading to long stay in hospital/ICU (Intensive care unit)
  • Death

Success of a Gastric Bypass operation is in controlling reflux after sleeve gastrectomy

Gastric Bypass will be effective in about half the patients in the rest the reflux will continue.

It is generally hailed as an Antireflux operation by surgeons, which it is not. Failure rate to control reflux and even development of reflux after a bypass (neo reflux) is reported in literature.

Chances of failure of Gastric bypass surgery to control GERD after sleeve gastrectomy

About 40% the patients after the bypass will continue to have reflux

Further surgical options once Gastric Bypass operation fails to control reflux/GERD after sleeve gastrectomy

Currently, some surgeons suggest and even perform completion gastrectomy and Roux en Y Oesophago Jejunostomy on rare occasions when a gastric bypass has failed to control reflux after an initial sleeve gastrectomy.

Generally, there have been no reasonable and effective options available to the surgeons or offered to the patients in this situation. We believe that 
Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) is the only sensible Antireflux option in this scenario.

A patient should avoid having a total/completion gastrectomy and Roux en Y Oesophago Jejunostomy, if offered to control reflux after gastric bypass operation.

This operation is doomed to fail to control reflux. Its risks and complications are similar to the gastric pass operation as mentioned above.

In addition, after completion gastrectomy and Roux en Y Oesophago Jejunostomy one cannot perform Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR). Thus, all chances of controlling reflux are lost.

Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) - A safe surgical option for heartburn / Reflux / GERD after sleeve gastrectomy, Gastric Bypass and Mini Gastric Bypass Operation

Amir’s Dubai Repair  (ADR) is a safe and reliable surgical treatment for patients suffering from reflux that cannot be controlled with conservative means and medication.

In our experience over the last 5 years Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) has proved to be safe, effective and reliable to control reflux after sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass.

Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) is not an experimental operation. It’s based on the established principles of anti-reflux surgery.

Outcomes of Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR)
Our follow up and audit has confirmed excellent results for Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a safe and reliable surgical treatment for patients suffering from reflux that cannot be controlled with conservative means and medication?
In our opinion, at present Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) is a safe, simple and reliable option for reflux after sleeve gastrectomy and bypass operation.

Is Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) an experimental operation?
No, Its based on the established principles of anti-reflux surgery,

Does Amir’s Dubai Repair offer good outcomes?
Yes, our follow up has confirmed excellent results so far.

Is Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) a complex operation?
Yes and No.

Yes, because a surgeon must be highly skillful in Antireflux surgery. He should also have mastery of Bariatric surgery. Long term work experience at high volume tertiary referral centers dealing with primary, re-do and complex Antireflux surgery is crucial to tackle such cases.

No, it is not a complex operation from the patient’s point of view, as its minimal invasive (keyhole/ Laparoscopic surgery) and does not involve cutting or rejoining of the intestines and stomach like a gastric bypass operation (resection and anastomoses). In the hands of an experienced surgeon the surgery should be safe and smooth.

Why Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) is better than the current treatment option?
Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) is a better cure than gastric bypass for reflux after sleeve gastrectomy for the following reasons:

  • Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) is less invasive operation
  • The hospital stay is generally 1-2 nights only. 
  • Risk of Potential complications is much lower with Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR)
  • Recovery is quicker with Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR)
  • Time taken after surgery to return to activity, exercise and normal life is much shorter after Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR), compared to a gastric bypass operation
  • Control of reflux is excellent after Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR)

Hospital stay after Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR)
The hospital stay is mostly 1-2 nights after surgery. In some cases, if another operation is combined to correct the complications of previous sleeve gastrectomy/ Gastric Bypass or any other issues then the stay can be longer. In case of any complications from surgery, one may need to stay in longer too.

Recovery After Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR)
Patients will be mobilising on the day of surgery after recovering from the anaesthetic. They will walk the following day and will be discharged home, once everything is fine.

Light walks can be commenced within 3-5 days.

Driving can be commenced once one is pain free and moving comfortably. This is generally day 5 to day 7 after the operation

Light gym exercise and yoga can be commenced after 2 weeks

Heavy exercise should be best avoided for 6 weeks after surgery

Diet after Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) surgery

  • Patient will be commenced on liquid diet on the day of surgery with juices and soups
  • Soft diet like scrambled eggs can be taken the day after surgery
  • Light diet is allowed from day 3 post operatively onwards
  • Generally, after two weeks a patients tend to commence eating normal diet
  • It can take up to six weeks or longer to establish a “back to normal” diet
  • In some patients after ADR with associated complications from previous surgery it may take longer. 
  • It is important to remember that after weight loss surgery in the first place, one has to have modified eating patterns and these are never the same as before the first operation.

Life After Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR)

Our medium-term results (up to 5 years after Amir’s Dubai Repair (ADR) surgery done for previous sleeve gastrectomy or bypass) have shown excellent results and 100% satisfaction rate. Patients have reported good quality of life.

Watch Podcasts on Amir's Dubai Repair (ADR)

Prof.Amir Nisar - Treatment of Heartburn/Reflux after Weightloss Surgery

Prof.Amir Nisar - Treatment of Heartburn/Reflux after Weightloss Surgery

Presenting the Medium Term Results of Amir's Dubai Repair(ADR) in An Internation research Conference in UAE

Presenting the Medium Term Results of Amir's Dubai Repair(ADR) in An Internation research Conference in UAE

How this UAE entrepreneur was finally cured of severe acid reflux with day surgery in Dubai

Fakeeh University Hospital offers expert care for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)