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GERD Treatment

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Management

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a progressive and painful disease that occurs when acid from your stomach repeatedly flows back into your esophagus. The acid irritates the lining of the esophagus, becoming increasingly more painful over time.

Many people experience mild reflux on an occasional basis, which can be treated with lifestyle adjustments such as diet. However, for the growing number of people who experience moderate to severe GERD, a more direct treatment approach may be necessary.

What Causes GERD?

Moderate to severe recurring GERD is caused by a weak or malfunctioning lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Located at the base of the esophagus where it connects to the stomach, the LES controls the flow of substances into the stomach. A fully-functioning LES also prevents stomach acid from flowing backward into the esophagus. When the LES is weakened or stops working all together, stomach acid is able to freely flow back into the esophagus, causing inflammation and pain.

The TIF Procedure

For patients who have tried lifestyle modifications and prescription medications but are still experiencing moderate to severe GERD, Community Memorial offers the TIF procedure.

The Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure is a minimally invasive procedure performed in the GI lab. Transoral means the procedure is performed through the mouth without external incisions. Fundoplication refers to the folding of the tissue at the opening of the stomach and esophagus to reinforce the area and prevent the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

The TIF procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to perform. During the procedure, Community Memorial’s specially-trained TIF physician will:

  • Give you an IV medication to make you sleepy
  • Insert a special TIF device and high definition endoscope into your esophagus and advance it into your stomach
  • Use the TIF device to grasp the end of your esophagus, bring it down and wrap the tissue in the top portion of the stomach about three-quarters of the way around the end of the esophagus
  • Secure the folded tissue with plastic fasteners that safely remain in your body
  • Remove the endoscope and TIF device through the reconstructed valve, back through your esophagus, and out of your body

Most patients are able to return home the same day as their TIF procedure, but some may require an overnight stay in the hospital. Recovery may include:

  • Taking a course of antibiotics
  • Drinking only clear liquids for 24 hours and easing back into your normal, healthy diet over the next three weeks as recommended and guided by your physician
  • Gradually decreasing or eliminating prescription GERD medications as instructed by your physician
  • Avoiding vigorous exercise or heavy lifting for three weeks following your procedure

Who is a Candidate for the TIF Procedure?

If you or a loved one suffers from moderate to severe GERD and have not responded to lifestyle changes, antacids, or prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), TIF may be an option for you. Community Memorial’s TIF-trained physicians will perform an evaluation, discuss your options, and help you decide if TIF is right for you.