It’s common to have occasional heartburn. This is often a symptom of GERD. This happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that moves food from your mouth to your stomach. It may occur after eating and may get worse when lying down or bending over.
Complications of Untreated GERD
When left untreated, chronic reflux can cause painful irritation called esophagitis. It can also cause precancerous changes in the lining of the esophagus, called Barrett’s esophagus, which is believed to be a precursor to the development of esophageal cancer. In rare cases, severe reflux can cause hoarseness, permanent vocal changes, and even severe narrowing of the esophagus, called strictures. If your heartburn isn’t helped by changes to your diet or medication, then surgery may be an option. Our surgeons are highly trained to repair the underlying cause of GERD. Below is list of acid reflux surgeries performed at Pardee UNC Health Care.
Acid Reflux (GERD) Surgery
TIF (Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication)
This procedure is used when open fundoplication is not appropriate. It creates a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. The barrier prevents reflux of stomach acid. This procedure doesn't require incisions. A device called an EsophyX is inserted through your mouth. It creates several folds at the base of the esophagus. The folds form a new valve. Since it does not require incisions, this can be a good option for people with GERD. If medications do not relieve your GERD, but you do not want more invasive surgery, this may be an option you prefer.
During fundoplication surgery, the top part of your stomach is wrapped around your esophagus and is sewn into place. This stops acid from backing up into the esophagus as easily. This lets your esophagus heal and helps relieve your symptoms without future use of medications.
Acid Reflux Tests
The following tests can be utilized to help us determine the best treatment for you.
- Barium Swallow- Also called an esophagram, this X-ray of your esophagus allows your doctor to evaluate your degree of reflux and look for a hiatal hernia.
- Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy- Your doctor inserts a flexible tube into your mouth to view the inside of your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
- Esophageal Manometry- A tiny electronic device is inserted through your nose via a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. It detects weaknesses within the esophagus by monitoring strength and patterns of muscle function.
- Esophageal Acidity Test- Measures acid content within the esophagus to diagnose reflux and its severity