GERD: New Treatment Options for Heartburn Featured

Comprehensive Care for Digestive Disorders

St. Joseph’s offers cutting-edge techniques and sets a new standard for patients with digestive disease.

St. Joseph’s Health brings together some of the leading gastroenterology experts in the tri-state area to set a new standard of care for patients with digestive diseases. Whether you are managing a chronic condition or taking preventive measures for your health, the St. Joseph’s Gastro Center is here to help you regain your health and lifestyle.

For many patients with a digestive disease, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist (GI)—a physician specializing in the digestive system.  They may also send you for diagnostic tests or recommend treatment options that could include medication, a GI procedure or surgery.

GERD: ACID REFLUX

New Advancements in Heartburn Treatment

GERD today is typically treated with medications such as histamine receptor antagonists (H2 blockers), - Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac - and with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) - Nexium, Prilosec and Protonix. Unfortunately, these medications can lose their effectiveness over time. More importantly, they do not treat the underlying root causes of acid reflux.

For people who have severe GERD, surgical intervention may be required. Though the conventional laparoscopic procedure has long been proven a very effective solution, it is still an invasive procedure. It includes incisions and patients must remain in the hospital for up to several days. For that reason, the number of GERD sufferers who undergo this procedure is declining. Fortunately, there are new, less invasive techniques available today for treatment of GERD.

Less Invasive GERD Treatment Options

LINX® Procedure

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic, often progressive disease caused by a weak Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) that allows acid and bile to reflux, or flow back, from the stomach into the esophagus.

The LES is a muscle at the junction of the esophagus and stomach that functions as the body's natural barrier to reflux. The LES acts as like a valve, allowing food and liquid to pass through to the stomach. Normally, the LES resists opening to gastric pressures to prevent reflux. In people with GERD, the LES is weak and allows acid and bile to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus, often causing injury to the lining of the esophagus and symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat and cough.

LINX® is a small, flexible band of magnets and enclosed titanium beads. The beads are connected by titanium wires. The magnetic attraction between the beads is designed to help keep the weak LES closed to prevent reflux (see Figure 2). Swallowing forces temporarily break the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass into the stomach. Magnetic attraction closes the LES after swallowing to reinforce the body's natural barrier to reflux.

The TIF Procedure

Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) is a minimally invasive treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that is performed in the outpatient setting. The TIF procedure is performed from inside the patient’s stomach without incisions.

TIF was developed to emulate more invasive surgical techniques, but from within and completely without incisions and visible scars. Using the FDA-cleared EsophyX device, the procedure is performed through the mouth, rather than through an abdominal incision. Typically lasting no more than  60 minutes, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia and reconstructs the antireflux barrier to restore the competency of the gastroesophageal junction. Most patients can go home the next day and return to work within a few days.

Robotic Surgery Procedure

If your doctor recommends surgery to treat GERD, you may be a candidate for a safe, effective and minimally invasive procedure – da Vinci Surgery. Using the most advanced technology available, the da Vinci System enables our doctors to perform this delicate operation with breakthrough precision, superior vision, dexterity and improved access to the affected area.

St. Joseph’s’ University Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center offer the advanced options of robotics technology -- making surgery easier on the body, and helping you get back to normal life faster.

This breakthrough advancement allows our surgical team to be in control, but with greatly enhanced precision. This technology uses much smaller instruments than a human hand could control. Some of the incredible benefits include: a faster recovery time; smaller incisions; less blood loss, scarring and pain.

Robotic surgery is incredibly accurate, which means less stress on your body. Many patients who experience robotic surgery at St. Joseph’s go home the same day and return to normal activities faster than expected.

For a referral to a St. Joseph’s affiliated physician who can offer you these and other options for treatment of GERD, please visit Find-A-Doctor  and search Specialties: Gastroenterology.

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