Do you suffer from chronic heartburn? Unexplained coughing fits? Hoarseness or a sore throat? These could all be signs that you’re one of the more than seven million Americans who suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
GERD, the more severe form of acid reflux, occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter — the band of muscle between your esophagus and stomach — does not squeeze itself closed. This forces your food and stomach acids up instead of down your digestive tract, causing that sour taste you may have experienced after eating foods like tomato-based sauces, spicy or fried foods, high-fat meat/dairy products, or drinking caffeinated products, such as coffee, tea or soda.
If GERD is at its primary stage, dietary and lifestyle modifications, such as eliminating foods known to aggravate the condition is an effective way of controlling it. For others, an over-the counter antacid can usually relieve the discomfort. If you suffer from frequent heartburn that occurs more than twice a week, you may be prescribed daily medications, such as H2 blockers, that can generally relieve heartburn and treat reflux, especially if you’ve never had treatment before.
But when prescription drugs aren’t enough to control the condition, and symptoms that may include asthma and laryngitis begin to reduce your quality of life, it’s time to talk to your doctor about surgical treatments.
There are several invasive and non-invasive techniques through which GERD can be treated, but a very successful and minimally-invasive procedure that’s often performed is called Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF), says ASHA’s Dr. Michael J. Menack, a board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeon practicing in the area of general surgery and minimally-invasive and incisionless surgery that corrects GERD.
The TIF procedure corrects GERD by creating a valve mechanism at the bottom of the lower esophageal sphincter. “In the past, this was accomplished either through open abdominal surgery or through tiny laparoscopic incisions in the abdomen,” explains Dr. Menack. The innovative TIF uses a EsophyX device and endoscope that is gently inserted through the mouth restoring the natural flow of food and acid down the digestive tract.
TIF is performed under general anesthesia and most patients return to work within a few days. “There are many benefits of an incisionless approach to GERD surgery, but most patients really appreciate the quick recovery time,” says Dr. Menack. Surgeons do not cut into the abdomen, which means faster recovery and fewer post-surgical complications. “Patients also need be aware that prescription drugs, including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used to treat heartburn, GERD and gastric ulcers, can have severe side effects from prolonged use, so a procedure like this offers a safe and effective solution.”
For more info about GERD and the TIF procedure, please call our office at 732.308.4202 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Menack and/or visit http://www.gerdhelp.com/.