Reflux after gastric sleeve surgery

Gastro-oesophageal reflux after sleeve gastrectomy surgery is common, affecting 1 in 5 patients. Symptoms like heartburn and acid regurgitation can negatively impact a person’s quality of life. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery can help reduce reflux symptoms by reducing acid production in the stomach pouch and redirecting the acidy content further down the bowel loops, away from the oesophagus. 

Woman having pain in chest

Common questions about Reflux after gastric sleeve surgery surgery

It’s understandable to have questions about weight loss revision surgery. Check out these frequently asked questions. And if you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team. They would love to help!

Yes, it is common for people to have gastro-oesophageal reflux after having gastric sleeve surgery. The reason is that gastric sleeve surgery changes the shape and size of the stomach. This can cause stomach acid to travel up into the oesophagus, causing heartburn.

It is important to treat gastro-oesophageal reflux after sleeve gastrectomy surgery because it can cause digestive discomfort and other symptoms such as heartburn, acid regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. These symptoms can negatively impact a person’s quality of life and make it difficult for them to eat and enjoy meals.

In some cases, untreated reflux can also lead to complications such as esophagitis, stricture, and Barrett’s esophagus, which is a precancerous condition. Treating reflux can help relieve symptoms and prevent more severe health problems.

If you have gastro-oesophageal reflux after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, there are several treatment options available, including:

  • Making lifestyle changes such as avoiding trigger foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding lying down immediately after eating.
  • Taking medication to reduce acid production, such as antacids or H2 blockers.
  • In some cases, surgery may be necessary if a hiatus hernia is causing the reflux. Options include a laparoscopic repair of the hiatus hernia or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, which can improve reflux symptoms.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is a type of weight loss surgery. The stomach is made smaller during the surgery by creating a small pouch at the top. Then, the small intestine is attached to this pouch so that food bypasses the rest of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This way, the body absorbs less food and fewer calories, leading to weight loss.

RYGB surgery can be helpful for people with reflux because it can lower the amount of acid the stomach makes. Reflux happens when acid from the stomach goes back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and regurgitation.

The surgery makes the stomach smaller and reroutes the small intestine, which can lower the amount of acid made by the stomach and reduce reflux symptoms. The new connection created during the surgery also helps stop acid from flowing back up into the esophagus.

Recovery from gastric sleeve to bypass conversion surgery for reflux can vary for each individual, but here is a general idea of what you can expect:

  1. Hospital stay: Most patients stay in the hospital for 2-3 days after the surgery. You will receive pain medication and be monitored for complications during this time.
  2. Pain: You may experience some pain or discomfort in the incision area, but this should be manageable with pain medication prescribed by Dr Kuzinkovas.
  3. Diet: After the surgery, you will start with a liquid/puree diet and gradually advance to solid foods over the next 6 weeks. You will need to follow a specific dietary plan to ensure you get the nutrients you need while allowing your stomach to heal.
  4. Activity: You will need to avoid strenuous activity for a few weeks after the surgery, but you should gradually increase your activity level as you feel better. Dr Kuzinkovas will provide specific guidelines for your recovery.
  5. Follow-up appointments: You will need to attend follow-up appointments with the Advanced Surgicare team to monitor your progress and ensure that you are healing properly.

Dr V. Kuzinkovas will explain the recovery process and provide detailed instructions to guide you throughout the entire process. You will be provided with information about dietary restrictions and recommendations.

We offer a specialist post-operative care program. With over 15 years of supporting bariatric surgery patients, we have perfected our approach with a scientifically proven program that ensures minimum procedure complications and improves long-term weight loss success.

Our post-operative care team includes a bariatric physician, psychologist, and dietician. We offer evidence-based treatments that are proven to help you keep the weight off for good.

You will attend regular follow-ups with our bariatric physician, Dr Daiva, to guide you towards your weight loss goals.

Sally and Kerryn, our in house Dieticians will support you in keeping your healthy eating and activity regime on track. Carmel, our Bariatric psychologist will provide counselling to strengthen your emotional and mental health and improve your relationship with food.


Advanced Laparoscopic / Upper Gastrointestinal / Bariatric (Obesity) / Surgery Specialist

Dr Kuzinkovas is a specialist in revisional bariatric surgery. He focuses on the various procedures that can help his patients achieve their weight loss goals following unsuccessful weight loss procedures. With an experienced weight loss team, Dr Kuzinkovas can guide you throughout your weight loss journey. 

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