Acid reflux disease, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), affects over 21 million people in the United States. Many who suffer from the disease take medications to help ease the pain, but Scott Carpenter, DO, general surgeon, is now offering a procedure to significantly reduce or eliminate heartburn symptoms, eliminating the need for medication.
GERD is caused by changes in the body’s natural antireflux valve. Normally, after swallowing, the valve between the esophagus and stomach opens to allow food to pass, then it closes to prevent stomach contents from refluxing into the esophagus. Excessive weight, diet, aging and injuries to the abdomen are some of the factors that lead to the deterioration of the antireflux valve.
Many people who suffer from GERD live each day putting up with several symptoms: heart burn, avoiding certain foods, not eating after a certain time each evening, sleep on their backs, feeling bloated or gassy and tolerating the acidic or metallic taste in their mouths in the morning. For years, GERD has been treated by taking pills that reduce the acid production in the stomach, but according to Carpenter, it simply masks the symptoms and doesn’t treat the problem.
The procedure now offered at Mercy Memorial Health Center by Dr. Carpenter, called TIF (Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication), treats the underlying cause of GERD without incisions. The procedure reconstructs the antireflux valve and restores the body’s natural protection against reflux.
“The procedure is done completely through the mouth – there are no incisions made on the skin,” said Carpenter.
Twelve weeks following surgery, foods are reintroduced into the patient’s diet until they are able to eat whatever they want.
“Not only do the standard antacid medications hide the problem, they can have significant side effects and cost a lot of money over a person’s lifetime,” said Carpenter. ”By offering this new procedure I hope to help my patients live happier, healthier lives.”
TIF is performed under general anesthesia and requires an overnight stay at the hospital. Many patients are able to return to normal activities within a few days. Most people who require medication for GERD are candidates. For more information about the procedure, or to see if you are a candidate, call Mercy Surgical Associates at (580) 223-3216.
Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.