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Since his
surgery, Jeff
Shroll works
out several
times a week
without
suffering the
consequences
of acid reflux.
Once all of the tests and studies are completed
and the final diagnosis is acid reflux disease, then
laparoscopic fundoplication might be the next
step. An elective surgery, laparoscopic fundo-
plication is a procedure that recreates the valve
between the esophagus and stomach. It’s gener-
ally accompanied with an overnight stay in the
hospital, followed by diet limitations for 30 to 90
days after surgery. A relatively new procedure,
the end result is a repaired valve
that’s not too loose and not too
tight, allowing food to travel to the
stomach but preventing acid from
splashing into the esophagus.
Jeff underwent laparoscopic
fundoplication in December 2009
and is enjoying life in a way that
he couldn’t before the surgery.
He’s eating what he wants, when
he wants and is pursuing his
outdoor passions with vigor.
“I had a hard time doing 14ers
back then (before the surgery).
I’d get my heart rate up and the
lack of oxygen would aggravate it,”
says Jeff. “It has been way help-
ful — it’s easier running up and
down peaks without acid reflux.”
Jeff has crossed 45 peaks off of his list so far.
“I’ve joked with Dr. Hammaker, ‘why didn’t I
climb with you 10 years earlier to find out about
this procedure?’” Jeff says. “If I had known about
this years ago, I would have stood in line. This
procedure really provided relief and was a great
help for me; I know it could do the same for others.
“He’s the guy that does the real thing. I’m just a
happy patient.”
good night’s sleep because of acid reflux.”
Another way to release stress is by exercis-
ing, but acid reflux can be aggravated by physi-
cal exertion, creating a lose-lose cycle for Jeff.
So when Dr. Hammaker said he might be able
to fix Jeff ’s acid reflux, Jeff was ready to listen.
“Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a common
problem and there are ways to address acid
reflux with dietary and lifestyle modifications,”
says Dr. Hammaker, a surgeon at
Mountain Surgical Associates at
Vail Valley Medical Center. “Things
like losing weight, avoiding an
excess of caffeine and alcohol,
avoiding large meals and not eating
right before bedtime. We often
recommend lifestyle modifications
either before or in conjunction
with medicine to see what kind
of improvement you can get.”
Most people with standard acid
reflux do not need surgery. For many
people who have acid reflux or
indigestion, taking a pill like Nexium
or Prilosec once or twice a day
controls the problem and produces
results. However, medication
doesn’t work for everyone.
“When medicine isn’t working, you need to have
a proper evaluation to make sure that there’s not
something else going on that’s much more seri-
ous, like cancer,” says Dr. Hammaker. “We’ll take
a detailed history, find out what treatments have
worked and what has failed. We’ll do a lot of diag-
nostic testing, like an upper endoscopy, a pH study;
we’ll have a look around, maybe do a biopsy of the
esophagus, all to make sure that it’s acid reflux.”
If I had
known about
this years
ago, I would
have stood
in line.”
MOUNTAIN
SURGICAL
ASSOCIATES
MOUNTAIN SURGICAL
Associates (MSA) is home
to some of the most
respected surgeons in
Colorado. Specializing in
emergency and trauma case,
they are also experts in:
GENERAL SURGERY:
abdominal, thoracic
and endocrine
LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY:
hernia repair, gall bladder,
colon and reflux disease
CANCER SURGERY:
breast,
colon and rectal, endocrine,
lung and melanoma
TRAUMA/CRITICAL CARE:
around-the-clock diagnostic
and care for critically ill and
injured patients
WOUND AND OSTOMY:
treatment of acute and
chronic wounds
The team at MSA, consists of:
SUE ARFORD, RN
DR. JAMES DOWNEY
DR. REGINALD FRANCIOSE
DR. BARRY HAMMAKER
JASON MOORE, PH.D, PA
DR. JOHN SCHULTZ
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