What should I try before resorting to surgery for my heartburn?

It depends. . ....Upon the cause of your " heartburn". Depending upon the etiology, medical therapeutic trial maybe done prior to considering surgery. Be well?.
Many things. 1. Diet modification. Avoid foods that loosen the lower esophageal sphincter. Those foods include caffeine, alcohol, mints and spearmint, acidic food, tomatoes based products and chocolate. 2. Stop smoking as nicotine loosens the lower esophageal sphincter. 3. Medications that reduce acid such as proton pump inhibitors are also effective.