According to the National Institutes of Health, some 15 million Americans experience Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) every day, making it the most common gastrointestinal-related diagnosis made by physicians.
- GERD or reflux can be caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle which separates your esophagus from your stomach. The LES is a one-way valve that normally opens for limited amounts of time when you swallow.
- Reflux occurs when digestive juices and stomach contents flow back into the esophagus.
- The backflow of stomach contents can cause damage to the digestive system and, over time, may lead to Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer.
- GERD is a progressive disorder that will not resolve or go away on its own over time.
GERD symptoms may include:
- Difficulty Swallowing.
- Chronic Cough.
- EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy): A procedure to diagnose and treat problems in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
- Esophageal Manometry/Esophageal Motility Study: A test used to evaluate the motor function of the esophagus and/or prior to anti-reflux surgery.
- 24-Hour pH Study: Used to determine the presence of acid reflux using a small, flexible tube inserted through the nose into the esophagus that remains in place for 24 hours for analysis.
- BRAVO pH Study: A test in which a probe is placed onto the wall of the esophagus during an EGD. The probe monitors the frequency and duration of gastric reflux during a normal day.
Minimally Invasive Therapies
- Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI): Available over the counter or by prescription to help suppress acid production and manage GERD symptoms.
- Stretta Therapy: An endoscopic (incisionless) procedure used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the muscle between the stomach and esophagus to help improve muscle function and reduce reflux symptoms.
Outpatient Surgical Care
- Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF): A procedure to restore the one-way operation of the LES to help alleviate valve-related GERD symptoms.
- LINX: A laparoscopic surgical technique in which a magnetic device is implanted at the LES to restores its function.
- Fundoplication: A laparoscopic procedure in which the LES is reinforced by wrapping a portion of the stomach around it, preventing further reflux with minimal side effects and eliminating the need for ongoing medication.
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