Why pharmaceuticals are not a long-term solution
GERD today is typically treated with medications such as histamine receptor antagonists (H2 blockers), such as Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as Nexium, Prilosec and Protonix. These medications can lose their effectiveness over time. They also don't treat the underlying root causes of reflux, the deteriorated anatomy of the antireflux barrier, so life-long medication therapy is required. In addition, recent studies on the adverse effects of long-term use of PPIs indicate a significantly higher incidence of hip fractures, particularly among women.
Conventional surgical treatment
For people who have severe GERD, surgical intervention may be required. Though the conventional laparoscopic procedure has long been proven a very effective long-term solution, it is still "invasive." 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 the procedure is relatively small.
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 50-60 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.
We have been performing the TIF procedure since April 2010 and have one of the largest experiences with the procedure, not only in the Midwest, but the entire country. Our results have been presented at the Wisconsin Surgical Society and we are currently involved in a multi-center research trial. We are also currently serving as a teaching site for other surgeons and gastroenterologists interested in learning how to perform the procedure.
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