Frequently Asked Questions: Acid Reflux
What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
It is the flow of the stomach’s contents and acid back up into the esophagus. This happens when the esophageal valve, part of the antireflux barrier becomes weak or nonfunctional. GERD is also called heartburn, reflux and esophageal reflux.
What are the consequences of GERD?
Over the long term, persistent exposure of the delicate tissue of the esophagus to the acid contents of the stomach can cause chronic inflammation or esophagitis which can lead to a precancerous condition called Barret’s Esophagus.
In some cases GERD suffers may experience non-heartburn symptoms. Symptoms may include hoarseness, persistent cough, dental erosions, sore throat, discomfort in the ears and nose and asthma-like symptoms. These symptoms cannot typically be resolved through drug therapy.
How is GERD treated?
In addition to dietary controls, medications like non-prescription antacids, PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) and H2 blockers help prevent the acceleration of GERD. Over time however, these medications may lose their effectiveness requiring increased dosage, increasing cost and the increasing the risk of long-term side effects. Surgical procedures such as the Nissen Fundoplication have long been known to be effective therapy for GERD. Today the TIF procedure offers a clinically-effective noninvasive surgical solution for the treatment of GERD.
What is TIF?
TIF is a surgical procedure performed with the innovative EsophyX device through the mouth which reconstructs the barrier between the stomach and esophagus to prevent stomach fluids from refluxing up into esophagus. TIF is completely incisionless so it has less risk, reduced recovery time and no visible scar.
What happens during TIF?
The TIF procedure is performed safely, quickly, comfortably, with no incisions and with minimal downtime. While under anesthesia the flexible EsophyX device will be gently lowered through the mouth into the stomach under the visualization of an endoscope “video” placed down the shaft of the device. Once inside the stomach, the surgeon will manipulate the device to create a tight sealing valve and hold it in place with suture.
What can I expect after TIF treatment?
Most patients can return to work the next day or within a few days following their TIF procedure. Patients will likely experience some manageable discomfort in their chest, nose, throat and stomach for the first few days to a week. Patients will be asked to restrict physical activity for the first week and will be given dietary guidelines to help maximize their success while their new antireflux valve heals.
Is TIF safe?
TIF has been proven safe in use in thousands of procedures worldwide. The TIF procedure is expected to be safer than traditional surgery which often involves incisions in the skin for access to the organs, and cutting around the organs to free the desired area for suturing. With TIF, there are no incisions inside on the organs or outside on the skin.