Thursday, September 6

Surgery for Acid Reflux Disease or GERD

There are many medications today to help relieve Acid Reflux, perscription and over the counter. For people with chronic acid reflux disease, these medications are sometimes just not enough and surgery may be their best chance for relief. The surgery can be done laparoscopically, but many patients don't want such a drastic procedure performed. Fortunately, a new less invasive outpatient surgery is available for acid reflux sufferers called the Plicator procedure.

Acid Reflux happens when the stomach contents refluxes back up into the esophagus because of a weak valve connecting the esophagus to the stomach. Surgery can correct this problem by tightening the valve to prevent the backup from the stomach to the esophagus. Until now, this procedure has been performed laparoscopically, which means a tiny camera/scope is inserted through a small incision which transmits images to a video monitor for the surgeon to see in order to perform surgery. General anesthesia is required for this type of surgery. Many patients are uncomfortable with such an invasive procedure.

The new less invasive surgery involves an instrument called the Plicator. This device enters the body by a tube down the throat. The surgeon uses it to grab, fold to tighten, and suture the stomach tissue without any incisions. This outpatient procedure requires the patient to be under conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia, and takes less than 30 minutes. Recovery time is a day or so, and patients can then stop taking antacid medication. The success rate of the Plicator procedure is now about 80% but it may need to be performed again after a few years to retighten the valve.

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