Stretta Procedure Shows Great Promise
Acid reflux disease is one of the leading gastrointestinal disorders, affecting about one-third of Americans. It can cause pain, coughing and even lead to cancer. Current treatments have typically included lifestyle modifications, pharmacological therapies and surgery. However, there is rising concern over the long-term side effects of the popular proton-pump inhibitors and there has been recent evidence raising doubts about how long a fundoplication surgery can last. This has caused the medical community to search for new and improved reflux treatments.
Now, a simple endoscopic procedure, called Stretta, is showing great promise for reflux treatment. In a recent study, researchers found 72 percent of patients no longer had reflux ten years after the Stretta procedure and 41 percent were off medications.
During the Stretta procedure, patients are sedated while doctors insert a catheter down the throat and deliver radiofrequency energy to stimulate the tissue and strengthen the muscles. As a result, the sphincter muscle gets thicker and stronger so it will not open as easily.
This radiofrequency procedure has been around since 2000, but long-term data about its safety and effectiveness is just now becoming more readily available. After more than ten years, it appears that the Stretta procedure significantly improves acid reflux symptoms, quality of life and can eliminate the need for medication in the majority of patients (Gastroenterology Research and Practice, 2013).
Almost no medical procedure is without the risk of complications. GERD is also a widely varying condition and may be caused by reasons that may not be a good match for the Stretta treatment. However, this procedure seems to be a valuable treatment option for many. Based on the latest findings, a conversation with your doctor about the Stretta procedure may be worthwhile.