GERD and Hiatal Hernia Surgery
What is GERD?
GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease) is commonly known as acid reflux. This condition occurs when acid from the stomach flows back up into the esophagus. In a healthy patient, anatomic and physiologic factors create a valve at the junction of the esophagus and stomach, preventing reflux. When that valve becomes incompetent, reflux occurs, and patients become symptomatic.
- Heartburn (burning sensation in the chest, upper abdomen, or throat)
- Reflux (regurgitation of food or sour liquid into the esophagus, throat, or mouth)
- Chronic cough
- Sensation of lump in throat
- Chest pain
GERD can often be diagnosed with classic endoscopic findings in conjunction with typical clinical symptoms. In some cases, and particularly prior to surgery, additional studies are performed to further characterize the disease. These additional studies may include:
- pH test – A small probe is placed that measures the acid content refluxing into the esophagus
- Esophagram and Upper GI series – Commonly known as a “barium swallow,” this is an X-ray study that takes live motion pictures while a patient drinks contrast. It helps characterize the function of the esophagus, as well as identify the presence of a hiatal hernia
- Esophageal Manometry – This study evaluates the muscle pressures in different regions of the esophagus and helps identify physiologic dysfunction contributing to symptoms
Diet and Lifestyle Modifications
- Weight loss
- Avoiding spicy and acidic foods
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
- Abstaining from smoking
- Avoiding carbonated beverage
- Avoiding meals and beverage less than 2 hours before bed or laying down
PPI (Proton-pump inhibitors)
- Gold standard medical therapy for GERD
- Blocks the stomach’s acid production
- Also commonly used, but need to be taken twice daily
- Blocks acid production, but less so than PPI
- Often used to help with immediate symptom relief
- Does not address acid production
Indications for surgery to treat GERD include any of the following:
- Patient does not want to continue taking medications long-term
- Medications fail to control symptoms
- Development of complications from chronic GERD, such as strictures in the esophagus
- Extra-esophageal/atypical symptoms
Recently, an “incisionless” endoscopic technique has be used in select patients to successfully treat GERD. This new procedure is called Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication, or TIF. If you would like to learn more about this procedure and see if you are a candidate, CLICK HERE to visit our page on TIF.
Hiatal Hernia Repair
What is a Hiatal Hernia?
Get Your GERD Examined Today
Dr. Anthony Pozzessere is a Bergen County, New Jersey-based practitioner who has had many years of experience performing robot-assisted surgery, which has resulted in less pain, quicker recovery, shorter stay, and patient satisfaction. His thorough knowledge of the body and about the use of robot-assisted surgery has allowed him to accomplish hundreds of surgeries to help his patients.