|Guy R. Nicastri, MD, FACS is Surgeon-in-Chief at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. Dr. Nicastri is Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and is certified by the American Board of Surgery.|
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It is estimated that 14 million Americans currently endure the daily symptoms of acid reflux also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD occurs most commonly when stomach acid is regurgitated from the stomach into the esophagus (food pipe). The symptoms of GERD are uncomfortable: frequent heartburn, voice hoarseness, sore throat, chronic dry cough, a sensation of a lump in your throat and chest pain. Medical treatment is effective at treating many of these symptoms by reducing the acid production in the stomach but does not actually stop the reflux from occurring. Complications from chronic reflux include esophageal ulcers, bleeding and scarring of the esophagus and in some patients, a potentially pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
Guy Nicastri, M.D., surgeon-in-chief at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island is using a new minimally invasive treatment called the Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure. This endoscopic treatment repairs the weakened valve at the junction of the stomach and esophagus, strengthening the anti-reflux barrier so that gastric contents no longer seeps into the throat.
During this procedure the valve between the esophagus and stomach can be viewed with an endoscope and repair or reconstruction of the weakened muscle can be made through the patient’s mouth. Most patients have to stay in the hospital overnight and are able to return home the following day. After resting a few days, they are typically able to return to their daily routine and activities free from their heartburn and medications.
“One of the benefits of the TIF procedure is its long-term solution to GERD,” said Dr. Nicastri. He adds, “It corrects the underlying anatomical problems that cause reflux and its accompanying symptoms and prevents the progression of the disease. With medical treatment, reflux (or heartburn) medications will relieve the symptoms in many, but not fix the root cause of the symptoms or stop the disease’s progression. Having the TIF procedure will most likely reduce or eliminate the patient’s need or dependency on medications to control symptoms.”
The TIF endoscopy procedure does not require incisions. It is a minimally invasive procedure, which means less risk of complications, less pain and a shorter recovery. The procedure has a very high success rate and eliminates heartburn and other symptoms of GERD in over 85 percent of patients.
Memorial Hospital is one of only a small number of hospitals in New England to offer the new TIF surgical procedure to treat heartburn.To learn more call (401) 729-2127.