Hectic lifestyle, unhealthy food habits, poor bowel movements, and stress can all add up to one condition called the GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD refers to a particular type of digestive disease, and mainly affects the LES or lower esophageal sphincter, which is a muscle ring between the stomach and the esophagus resulting in the symptoms such as burning sensation in the chest or difficulty in swallowing.
While the moderate or mild GERD can usually be treated with healthy lifestyle changes, diet, and medications, when the condition gets severe, surgery becomes the only option to prevent the issue from deteriorating further. Here are some of the common surgical options available for treating GERD:
- Fundoplication: This surgical procedure is the most common and standard surgical option for treating GERD. It focuses on tightening and reinforcing the LES by wrapping the upper portion of the stomach around the outer side of the lower esophagus which strengthens the sphincter.
- Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication: Transoral incisionless fundoplication or TIF is another surgical procedure available for treating GERD and can be performed when an open fundoplication cannot be performed. It is performed by creating a barrier between the esophagus and the stomach which prevents the stomach acid from reflux or going backwards.
- Stretta: This surgical procedure is performed as an outpatient option using an endoscope. Here, a flexible tube is passed into the esophagus where the electrode present at the tip of the tube creates tiny cuts on the esophagus by heating the esophageal tissues. As a result, the scar tissues formed, block the nerves that are responsible for acid reflux.
- Bard EndoCinch System: This surgical procedure also uses an endoscope to create stitches to make pleats in the lower esophageal sphincter, which strengthens the LES. However, this surgical treatment option is not as common as other GERD treating procedures.
- Linx Surgery: In Linx surgery, a special device called Linx, a ring containing microbeads of magnetic titanium, is wrapped around the sphincter to make it strong. As the beads are magnetized, they help in keeping the opening between the esophagus and stomach closed, while letting the food pass normally.
As long as the surgical option is laparoscopy, they are the least time-consuming as well as less painful with lesser downtime, but may not be ideal for everyone. When it comes to traditional surgical treatment options like fundoplication, it takes around minimum six weeks to resume the daily activities. However, for laparoscopic fundoplication, the downtime is one or two weeks. Linx surgery is a minimally invasive surgical option and therefore, the recovery time is shorter than other traditional surgeries for treating GERD. Depending on the patient's health conditions and response to surgery, the recovery time may vary for each surgical treatment options for GERD.
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