Surgical treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Riverside Community Hospital is proud to offer a minimally invasive solution for patients in the Inland Empire with heartburn or chronic acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When left untreated, chronic reflux can lead to additional health concerns as a result of excessive acid in the esophagus. Our gastroenterologists now offer transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF), which is an noninvasive procedure performed to repair the body's natural reflux barrier.
Are you interested in TIF? To see if this procedure is right for you, call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (951) 788-3463.
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that causes stomach contents to reflux (wash backward) into the esophagus. This often results in long-term heartburn and possible injury to the esophageal lining.
Patients with reflux and GERD are often prescribed escalating doses of prescription medications for prolonged periods of time. While medications can help manage GERD symptoms by suppressing acid production, long-term usage and high doses of medication have been linked to a host of other health complications, including certain types of cancer and esophageal disorders. Additionally, the root cause of reflux, a faulty valve between the esophagus and stomach, may still exist. That's why the TIF procedure is such an effective treatment.
Stomach with GERD
Symptoms of GERD
Patients with GERD may experience symptoms such as:
- Inability to drink alcohol, carbonated beverages or caffeine without triggering reflux
- Inability to eat rich foods or fruit without triggering reflux
- The need to sleep sitting up to reduce nighttime reflux
Heartburn and acid reflux solutions
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, over 15 million Americans experience daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux, such as regurgitation, chronic cough and chest pain. Until recently, patients with GERD had limited treatment options that included managing symptoms through diet modifications and/or long-term usage of daily medications like antacids or proton-pump inhibitors.
Now patients have access to additional treatment options available right here in Riverside County. The TIF procedure doesn't focus on treating the symptoms GERD causes but fixes the structural problem allowing stomach acid to reflux back into the esophagus.
What is transoral incisionless fundoplication?
Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) is a minimally invasive, effective procedure that helps relieve discomfort associated with GERD symptoms. The TIF procedure is a surgical repair of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is the muscle at the end of the esophagus that prevents stomach contents from re-entering the esophagus. TIF effectively treats the root cause of GERD. By treating the condition and not the symptoms, the TIF procedure helps prevent acids from refluxing into the esophagus while still allowing for venting of air and gases.
Candidates for the TIF procedure
Potential candidates for the TIF procedure include patients with chronic acid reflux whose conditions are not well managed on proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy and patients who want to discontinue are satisfied with their results at their six-month and five-year follow-up appointments.
What to expect from the TIF procedure
TIF is an endoscopic procedure, which means the doctor uses a long, thin tube that is inserted through the throat to repair the lower esophageal sphincter. The endoscope is equipped with imaging technology that allows for full visualization of the esophagus while reconstructing the reflux barrier. The TIF procedure typically takes less than one hour to complete and can be performed at the same time as a hiatal hernia repair, when needed.
Most patients can return to their regular, daily activities within three to seven days after their procedures. Patients also follow a special diet for up to six weeks after the surgery.
Benefits of the TIF procedure
Because the TIF procedure is performed endoscopically, most patients experience the following benefits associated with minimally invasive procedures which include:
- Faster recovery times
- Lower risk of complications, such as:
- Dysphagia (inability to swallow)
- Gas bloating syndrome
- Potential for no incisions or visible scars