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Endoscopic Treatment for GERD

What is endoscopic treatment for GERD?
Why would a doctor recommend endoscopic treatment for GERD?
What does endoscopic treatment for GERD involve?
How long is the recovery after endoscopic treatment for GERD?

What is endoscopic treatment for GERD?

Endoscopic treatment for GERD is a way to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition is caused by food or liquid rising from the stomach back into the esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. Doctors use one of several techniques to alter the function of the band of muscles at the base of the esophagus, and allow for normal swallowing and digestion.

Why would a doctor recommend endoscopic treatment for GERD?

Endoscopic treatments are often used with GERD patients:

  • Who don't want to take lifelong medications to control their symptoms of GERD, or
  • Whose symptoms aren't controlled by medications, or
  • For whom interventional surgery is not desired or possible

Before approving a patient to have endoscopic treatment for GERD, a gastrointestinal doctor will use one or several diagnostic tests, including motility testing, pH testing, and upper GI endoscopy, to make sure the patient's esophagus will respond well to the treatment.

What does endoscopic treatment for GERD involve?

This minimally-invasive procedure is done on an outpatient basis. Because you will be sedated, you will need to have someone drive you home after the procedure.

You will be given medicine to numb your throat, and a mild sedative to relax you and make you drowsy. A small device will help keep your mouth open during the procedure. You should feel no pain, and have no trouble breathing, as the doctor gently inserts the endoscope - a thin, flexible tube with a light and image sensor at the tip - through your mouth and into your throat.

Once the doctor has located the band of muscles at the base of the esophagus, he or she will use one of several techniques to repair the muscles:

  • Sewing or stitching, done with tiny tools
  • Thermal radiofrequency, which uses heat produced by radio waves to alter the muscles
  • The injection of biologically inert materials into the muscles

The procedure is usually completed within an hour.

How long is the recovery after endoscopic treatment for GERD?

You will need to rest in a recovery area until the effects of your medication have worn off, about an hour. Someone will need to drive you home, and you should take it easy for the rest of the day. You will be able to resume your normal activities the next day.

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