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Find out about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease


Home Find out about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Millions of people just like you suffer from chronic heartburn. And it's not the occasional heartburn that can be relieved with antacids. It's frequent and often may be painful. It can decrease the quality of your life and may keep you from your favourite foods or even keep you up at night.

And, it actually may be a symptom of GERD gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD is a serious medical condition that can aggravate or cause other serious conditions including asthma and Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD occurs when the barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus is not working. Stomach acid, which is very strong, is able to splash up into the oesophagus repeatedly. This causes heartburn, that burning pain behind the breastbone.

Stomach acid is very strong. Normally, stomach acid is contained in the stomach by the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is the barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus. GERD occurs when the LES is faulty, allowing stomach acid to flow up or reflux and irritate the oesophagus frequently.

How Does GERD Affect You?


Living with GERD can lower the quality of your life. One study showed that :
  • People who live with untreated GERD have a quality of life that is similar to people who have had a heart attack.
  • People who suffer from GERD have a lower quality of life than people with diabetes, cancer, or other severe diseases.
  • Nighttime’s acid reflux can keep you awake and diminish the quality of your sleep.

Common Symptoms


Only your physician can diagnose GERD accurately, but most of the symptoms of GERD are clearly identifiable :
  • Chronic heartburn.
  • Belching.
  • Chronic sore throat.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Sour taste.
  • Bad breath.
  • Inflammation of the gums.
  • Erosion of tooth enamel.

Surgical treatment


GERD is often caused by a mechanical problem, such as a hiatal hernia or a defective lower oesophageal sphincter. So, medications or diet and lifestyle changes do not work for everyone. And in the case of medications, you may not want to take a daily medication or you may dislike the side effects.

Surgery is an option for selected patients with severe chronic heartburn that disrupts their lives, despite lifestyle modifications and appropriate medication

The procedure --> minimally invasive procedure :


Antireflux surgery is a surgical procedure that involves wrapping part of the stomach, called the fundus, around the lower oesophagus. The oesophagus, or food pipe, has a barrier to keep stomach acid and contents from splashing or refluxing back up into the oesophagus. This barrier is called the lower oesophageal sphincter. By wrapping part of the stomach around the lower oesophageal sphincter, this procedure strengthens the lower oesophageal sphincter, preventing the reflux of stomach acid into the oesophagus. If a hiatal hernia exists, it can be repaired at the same time.

Antireflux surgery can be performed as a minimally invasive procedure. This means that the surgeon creates five to six small incisions, instead of the one large incision that open surgery involves. The surgeon then uses a fiber-optic light and camera to see the esophagus and stomach. Using special instruments designed for MIP, the surgeon completes the surgery.

In some cases, your surgeon may find it necessary to convert from a minimally invasive procedure to open surgery.

The minimally invasive procedure for reflux has become a common approach and offers the following benefits versus open surgery :
  • Shorter hospital stay (one to three days, instead of open surgery’s five to seven days).
  • Faster return to normal activities.
  • Shorter recovery time (as little as one to two weeks compared to open surgery’s four to six weeks).
  • Less scarring.
  • Less discomfort or pain.

Benefits


  • Surgical treatment not only provides long-term relief of symptoms in approximately 96 percent of patients, but also has shown evidence that it cures reflux (heartburn and regurgitation) by restoring the normal function of the antireflux barrier.
  • Antireflux surgery is the only available therapy that reliably increases lower oesophageal sphincter pressure and length, decreases the frequency of lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations, and corrects the hiatal hernia.
  • Antireflux surgery improves respiratory symptoms in nearly 90 percent of children and 70 percent of adults with asthma and GERD.
  • Minimally invasive antireflux surgery is effective in controlling symptoms in the majority of patients with Barrett’s oesophagus.

Barrett’s oesophagus disappears in some minimally invasive antireflux surgery patients.

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