GERD Procedure Reduces Reflux Symptoms for Bariatric Surgery Patients

Feb 23, 2023

Lexington Surgery and the South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center at Lexington Medical Center published preliminary results of a research study the practice conducted in the Obesity Surgery online journal. The study compared outcomes for bariatric patients with reflux who had an anti-reflux procedure before sleeve gastrectomy with patients who had gastric bypass alone.

While both groups had weight-loss success, the first group had better outcomes reducing their acid reflux symptoms compared to the group who just had gastric bypass.

“This is the first study to sequentially combine these two procedures and the preliminary results are very favorable. Sleeve gastrectomy is the most popular weight loss surgery by far and reflux is its most common complication,” said Marc C. Antonetti, MD, FACS, of the South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center at Lexington Medical Center. “The minimally invasive anti-reflux procedure can dramatically reduce the likelihood of GERD after sleeve gastrectomy.”

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a complex condition to which multiple factors contribute. Increased intraabdominal pressure from obesity, often combined with the presence of a hiatal hernia and a weakened valve between the esophagus and stomach can lead to the development of reflux of the stomach contents into the esophagus.  

While bariatric surgery is recognized as an effective weight-loss tool that results in improved health and longevity for patients related to reductions in comorbid conditions, some patients suffer from GERD after undergoing the sleeve gastrectomy alone. The sleeve gastrectomy changes the anatomy in such a way that can increase the likelihood of developing or worsening reflux. The anti-reflux procedure used in this study provides protective measures against the worsening of reflux.

Thirty patients participated in the study. Of those who had the anti-reflux procedure before sleeve gastrectomy, 87 percent were able to stop reflux medications within one year after surgery. In contrast, 66 percent of patients who had gastric bypass surgery alone were able to stop medications a year after surgery. 

The practice is currently in year three of a ten-year study to further evaluate the long-term success of this anti-reflux procedure prior to sleeve gastrectomy.

The entire study can be viewed here:

The South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center has performed more than 8,000 bariatric surgeries over the past two decades. For more information, visit

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