Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital first for reflux surgery

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Media captionA man from Exeter is believed to be the first patient to undergo an operation on the NHS to prevent severe acid reflux

A hospital in Devon is believed to be the first NHS facility to carry out keyhole surgery for severe acid reflux.

Lucas, 21, underwent surgery at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for gastro oesophageal reflux disease.

The illness causes acid and bile from the stomach to leak into the oesophagus causing chest pain and nausea.

The one-hour operation involved placing a band of magnetic titanium beads around his oesophagus preventing the stomach acid from leaking.

Lucas underwent the surgery after it was found he had three times the amount of acid in his stomach compared to an average person and medication had failed to improve the condition.

He said: "It was affecting my sleep pattern and I felt unwell so I was taking time off work.

"I had to avoid all things like caffeine, fatty foods, anything mildly spicy, so I was basically down to toast and very plain sandwiches."

Image caption Magnetic, titanium beads are placed around the oesophagus, preventing stomach acid from leaking

Following the surgery Lucas said his symptoms disappeared and it had "changed my life".

The operation costs about £10,000 but is cheaper than putting someone on medication for life.

Saj Wajed, a consultant surgeon at the hospital, said: "It starts working immediately offering patients relief from the symptoms of GORD [Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease] and a quick return to normal life.

"This could help a large number of patients because reflux is a very common condition and there are many people who are dependent on drug therapy.

"This would be a fantastic operation to get these patients off drug therapy for the rest of their lives."

The surgery was previously available at private clinics but it is hoped the operation will now become more available on the NHS to patients across the South West.

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