Incisionless Surgery - What does it mean to me?
Dr. Vartabedian recently wrote about a new surgical device which is now available and approved for use to treat some individuals who experience acid reflux. This week, I will use Dr. Vartabedian's blog as a springboard to help you determine if this new surgical device may or may not help your family. This is also the decision-making process I will use for my own family.
1. In layman's terms, what is the new device/procedure?
The EsophyX device is designed to repair damage to the stomach's esophical valve, the body's anti-reflux barrier. Unlike open surgery that requires small incisions, the EsophyX device is a limber, meter-long tube that can provide outpatient treatment. By using an endoscope as a guide, surgeons can use the device to grab, hold, fold and insert 5 millimeter staples into the valve located in the stomach.
2. What have been the results to date?
The surgical procedure has only been tested since June 2005. While the initial results look promising, in the world of research, this new procedure is only in its infancy. At this point, the researchers will only have a limited number of subjects who have been used in the experimentation, and obviously, no one knows how well the procedure will hold up after two years' time.
3. What questions should I ask my doctor?
Do you know about this new device/procedure?
Has it been tested on and is it appropriate for children (or whatever population the individual with GERD falls in)?
Could this be useful for the type of reflux my son has? (Remember, not all reflux is a result of a faulty esophageal sphincter valve).
If it is a procedure we should consider, is it a procedure you and your staff have first hand experience with? If you do not have any experience with this new procedure, could you recommend a medical group where we might get a second opinion or consultation?
Is there anything similar to this new device/procedure that may be better than this device and will soon become available?
Like Dr. Vartabedian said, "this technology makes for great headlines, only time will tell..."