Reflux Treatments: Surgery vs. Medications

  • The debate between treating acid reflux disease with medication or by surgical repair has been ongoing for quite some time. In the past there have been conflicting results from studies intending to compare the two choices. Most physicians advised to treat acid reflux disease with medications as long as the medications work to control the issues. Once the medications fail to solve the problem, or when there are other conditions being caused or aggravated by the acid reflux disease, it may be time to consider surgery.


    New research actually seems to indicate that surgery should be considered more frequently. A three year study looked at the follow up scores for symptoms and quality of life for both surgically treated acid reflux disease and acid reflux disease managed by medications. While both groups had similar scores for symptoms the surgical group had better scores for quality of life (1).

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    Over the course of the three year study the surgical group did end up paying more money overall. However, after four or five years the researchers noted that the reverse would be true and the group on medications to control acid reflux disease would end up paying more overall. That means that in the long term the surgical group spent less on their reflux related health care.


    Obviously there is much more to consider when deciding to have surgery. These new results definitely seem to indicate that the issue is worth discussing with your GI or physician. Newer and less invasive surgical procedures may be part of why the surgical group is beginning to score better than it has in the past. Only you and your doctor can decide what is right for you.

Published On: April 05, 2011