WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- A new surgical technique offers hope for people who suffer chronic heartburn from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
EsophyX Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) means performing the gastrointestinal procedures through the mouth rather than through an abdominal incision. A handful of hospitals around the country perform the operation.
"Unlike conventional laparoscopic procedures for surgical remediation of GERD, the transoral technique that introduces the surgical instruments through the mouth reduces the risk of infection from incisions, preserves future treatment options, nearly eliminates pain for the patient, and requires less recovery time," Dr. Shawn Garber, who heads the New York Bariatric Group at Mercy Medical Center where the procedure is done, said in a prepared statement.
As many as 25 percent of people in Western nations suffer from heartburn at least once per month, while more than 5 percent experience it on a daily basis. Having heartburn at least twice a week over six months could indicate GERD, a condition caused by excess stomach acid backing up into the esophagus because the muscular valve at its bottom fails to close properly.
While medications and diet and lifestyle changes can help treat GERD by reducing stomach acid, surgery is often required to stop the progression of the condition.
The American College of Gastroenterology has more about gastroesophageal reflux disease.