Acid reflux disease has become much more common. In fact, in 2011 it was estimated to have risen about 50% in the past decade. Serious conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are caused by acid reflux and affect more and more Americans. Acid reflux is not only painful, but can cause health issues. Untreated, GERD can turn into Barrett’s Esophagus, or BE, permanently scarring esophageal lining with acid. Left untreated, cases of BE can potentially lead to cancer. That’s why Georgia SurgiCare offers several solutions to help reduce and eliminate acid reflux, its symptoms and other issues it causes.
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EGD — Upper Endoscopy
Patients with heartburn, nausea or abdominal or chest pain will undergo this procedure before being treated further. This procedure involves using a small scope with a camera to look at the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This allows the doctor to better diagnose and treat any issues in the upper digestive system. The procedure takes only a few moments, and is done in the clinic.
Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication
Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) is a non-invasive treatment that is performed in the office. The patient is placed under general anesthesia and a flexible endoscope is gently lowered down the throat and into the stomach. The surgeon then restores the normal functions of the esophagus and stomach, ensuring proper positioning and lowering pressures that cause reflux.
Choosing TIF relieves patients of the discomfort caused by GERD, while allowing them a short recovery period and an incisionless procedure.
For patients suffering from Barrett’s Esophagus, the BARRX procedure can minimize the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Performed on an outpatient basis, the procedure involves placing an endoscope in the mouth and down the throat to view and measure the treatment area. A BARRX ablation catheter is then inserted to treat the abnormal tissue.
Stretta is a unique and non-surgical outpatient procedure that takes about an hour, and allows patients to return to normal activities within a few days. Stretta doesn’t require any incisions, stitches or implants, and it reduces or eliminates medications and acid exposure. During the procedure, radiofrequency (RF) energy is delivered to the muscle between the stomach and esophagus, which remodels and improves the muscle tissue, resulting in improved barrier function and fewer reflux events. Studies show that patients experience significant and lasting GERD symptom relief for 4-10 years, without the higher complication rates or cost of surgery. To find out more about Stretta, click here.
EGD and Manometry
Manometry is used to measure the pressures and the pattern of muscle contractions in your esophagus which, if abnormal, can cause in pain, heartburn, and/or difficulty swallowing. During the procedure a thin, lubricated tube will pass through the nose and into the stomach. The tube is then slowly pulled out of the esophagus as a computer measures and records the pressures in different parts of the esophagus. The procedure takes place in-clinic and requires no recovery time.
EGD and Bravo
Bravo is a catheter-free esophageal test which measures the pH level in the esophagus and is often used to determine if a patient has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). During the procedure, a small capsule about the size of a pill is attached to the lining of the esophagus for 48 hours. The capsule sends pH measurements wirelessly to a small personal receiver. The disposable pH capsule will spontaneously detach and pass through your digestive system after several days. The procedure takes place over the course of two days and requires no recovery time.
EGD and Dilation
Patients with a narrowed esophagus often have trouble swallowing. A major cause of this narrowing is scarring of the esophagus from recurrent stomach acid reflux. After an endoscope is inserted, the doctor will choose between a dilating balloon or plastic dilators over a guiding wire to stretch the esophagus. Patients may experience mild pressure in the back of the throat or chest during dilation. The procedure takes place in-clinic and patients may resume normal eating habits after a short observation period.
EGD and Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is typically performed to investigate irregular abdominal pain, blood in the stool, or other issues with the rectum, colon or small intestine. During the procedure, a physician introduces a highly specialized imaging scope into the lower gastrointestinal tract through the anus and into the colon. Prior to the colonoscopy, the doctor will give special instructions for emptying the stomach which may include adhering to a liquid-only diet and/or using laxatives or enemas. Some patients may experience cramping or bloating afterwards, but this should be relieved quickly. Eating and other normal activities can resume immediately.
EGD and Feeding Tube
During this procedure a feeding tube will be placed in the stomach for delivery of nutrition. A small incision will be made in the abdomen for the tube to enter; local anesthesia will be used at the incision site. The procedure requires sedation however the patient is discharged the same day after observation. A physician will discuss with the patient: how to care for the skin around the tube, signs and symptoms of infection or tube blockage, how to empty the stomach and feed through the tube, among other important care details.
EGD and Cellvizio
During a Cellvizio Optical Biopsy, real-time microscopic imaging is used in conjunction with a standard endoscopy. Cellvizio is used to offer patients a more accurate diagnosis by enabling doctors to view tissue at the cellular level. With the use of an extremely small optical camera, this imaging technique allows doctors to probe for esophageal, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers or lesions.
Esophageal Function Test
Esophageal Function Tests are used to evaluate swallowing function and may include a combination of several of the procedures above. An EGD and accompanying tests measure the pressure and efficiency of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a circular muscle that restricts to prevent backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. These types of esophageal tests can help distinguish heartburn pain from similar pain caused by cardiac disorders.
For more information about these procedures, or to request an appointment at our weight loss surgery center, call us at 678.466.6760.
Ask your doctor if TIF as a treatment for acid reflux disease is right for you.
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