Stop GERD Symptoms at the Source with TIF®

What is GERD:
GERD is a com­mon chron­ic diges­tive dis­or­der that impacts approx­i­mate­ly 81 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, caus­ing symp­toms such as heart­burn, gas, bloat­ing, per­sis­tent throat clear­ing, chron­ic cough­ing, dif­fi­cul­ty swal­low­ing and a burn­ing sen­sa­tion in the mouth or throat.

Dur­ing the nor­mal diges­tive process, the esoph­a­gus (food pipe) car­ries food from the mouth to the stom­ach. A valve locat­ed between the esoph­a­gus and stom­ach called the gas­troe­sophageal valve (GEV) is respon­si­ble for pre­vent­ing stom­ach con­tents or acid from com­ing back into the esoph­a­gus. In patients with GERD, this valve mal­func­tions, allow­ing the stom­ach acid back into the esoph­a­gus and the buildup of acid begins to cause irri­ta­tion in the lin­ing of the esoph­a­gus. When symp­toms occur twice a week or more, or begin to inter­fere with your dai­ly life, it’s time to con­sult with your doc­tor.

Treat­ment Options- Non Sur­gi­cal:
His­tor­i­cal­ly, treat­ment options for GERD have been pri­mar­i­ly focused around lifestyle or dietary changes and pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tions. In more severe cas­es sur­gi­cal inter­ven­tion was sought.

Com­mon diet and lifestyle changes include:

  • Swap­ping tra­di­tion­al meals for more fre­quent mini” meals
  • Eat­ing slow­er to avoid becom­ing over­ly full
  • Avoid­ing or reduc­ing con­sump­tion of com­mon dietary trig­gers (alco­hol, cof­fee, cit­rus fruits, onion, gar­lic, toma­to and oth­er spicy foods)
  • Quit­ting smoking
  • Not eat­ing two to three hours pri­or to lay­ing down
  • Sleep­ing with the head slight­ly elevated
  • Avoid­ing tight cloth­ing or belts

When changes to diet and lifestyle aren’t enough, many patients turn to pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tions to man­age symp­toms. GERD med­ica­tions called Pro­ton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) work by neu­tral­iz­ing or pre­vent­ing the pro­duc­tion of acid in the stom­ach to alle­vi­ate or elim­i­nate dis­com­fort caused by acid build up. PPI’s pro­vide tem­po­rary symp­tom relief, but fail to address the under­ly­ing prob­lem and can­not pre­vent the dis­ease from wors­en­ing. The FDA also rec­om­mends lim­it­ing PPI use to eight weeks. Pro­longed use of PPI’s has been linked to seri­ous side effect including: 

  • Vit­a­min defi­cien­cies includ­ing B12 and Magnesium
  • Increased risk for devel­op­ing ill­ness like pneu­mo­nia or bac­te­r­i­al gastroenteritis
  • Increased risk for devel­op­ing chron­ic dis­eases like chron­ic kid­ney dis­ease, stom­ach polyps or reduced gall­blad­der function

Treat­ment Options- Sur­gi­cal:
When con­ser­v­a­tive treat­ment meth­ods no longer ade­quate­ly con­trol GERD symp­toms, surgery may be rec­om­mend­ed. Tra­di­tion­al anti-reflux laparo­scop­ic surgery is called fun­do­pli­ca­tion. The pro­ce­dure has been used for over 50 years to treat GERD by using small inci­sions in the abdomen to recon­struct the GEV. While 65 – 95 per­cent of patients report a reduc­tion in the need for med­ica­tions fol­low­ing surgery, the pro­ce­dure has a seri­ous adverse event rate of almost 28 per­cent. Com­mon side effects include bloat­ing, gas pain and exces­sive flat­u­lence (pass­ing gas) that impact stag­ger­ing 57 per­cent of patients who under­went surgery. The high occur­rence of side effects has caused many patients to opt against the pro­ce­dure leav­ing them to expe­ri­ence con­tin­ued, fre­quent discomfort.

The TIF® Pro­ce­dure:
In 2007, the FDA approved a new, low­er risk sur­gi­cal treat­ment for GERD patients known as the TIF® (Tran­so­ral Inci­sion­less Fun­do­pli­ca­tion) pro­ce­dure. The pro­ce­dure is found­ed on gold stan­dard prin­ci­ples of tra­di­tion­al reflux surgery with­out the use of inci­sions .The TIF® pro­ce­dure is per­formed by gen­tly insert­ing an endo­scope and Eso­phyX® device into the mouth. The Eso­phyX® device is then used to recon­struct the GEV by form­ing and fas­ten­ing tis­sue folds where the esoph­a­gus and stom­ach meet to restore the body’s nat­ur­al bar­ri­er against reflux.

Report­ed ben­e­fits of the TIF® pro­ce­dure include:

  • Elim­i­nat­ing or reduc­ing the need for PPI med­ica­tions (75 per­cent of patients report­ed they were com­plete­ly off PPI med­ica­tions and anoth­er 10 per­cent report­ed only occa­sion­al use)
  • Treat­ing the pri­ma­ry cause of GERD- the anatom­i­cal defect rather than just mask­ing symptoms
  • No exter­nal skin inci­sions are required which means no scarring
  • No inter­nal cut­ting which allows for a faster recovery
  • Sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in the amount of adverse events and side effects post treat­ment com­pared to tra­di­tion­al surgery (2.8 per­cent ver­sus 28 percent)

Unlike tra­di­tion­al sur­gi­cal options, the TIF® pro­ce­dure has very few, minor side effects which may include a sore throat, left shoul­der pain, abdom­i­nal pain, dif­fi­cul­ty swal­low­ing or nau­sea that typ­i­cal­ly resolves in three to sev­en days fol­low­ing the pro­ce­dure. Patients are able to return home the next day and in most cas­es can resume nor­mal activ­i­ty lev­els with­in a few days.

Since its release in 2007, the TIF® pro­ce­dure has been suc­cess­ful­ly used to treat more than 17,000 GERD patients world­wide. DuPage Med­ical Group is proud to be one of the few health care providers cur­rent­ly offer­ing this safe and effec­tive treat­ment option to our patients.

Con­sult with your physi­cian for more infor­ma­tion or to deter­mine if you may be a can­di­date for the TIF® procedure.

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