Minimally Invasive Surgery for Reflux -- Better or Just New?

Dr. Bryan Vartabedian Health Guide
  • "A chance to cut is a chance to cure" - This is an adage that surgeons have lived with for generations. But that may be changing.


    Surgeons at Ohio State University have performed a new, incisionless operation to stop gastroesophageal reflux disease. The procedure (Esophyx) involves tightening the valve at the bottom of the swallowing tube to prevent the flow of stomach contents where it doesn't belong. And all through the mouth without an incision.


    Remarkable? For sure. Minimally invasive surgery, as this is called, is the future of operative care and we can expect this and procedures like it to become the standard rather than the newsworthy exception. But while some media have referred to the esophyx as the first of such procedures for reflux disease, others have come and gone with mixed results.

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    While this technology makes for great headlines, only time will tell if the outcomes meet or exceed that of an old-fashioned, through-the-belly fundoplication. More importantly there's research to suggest that anti-reflux procedures don't change a patient's need for long-term acid suppression therapy - even in kids.


    So stay tuned and, until we know more, respect the recommendation of the physician who knows your body and belly best.


Published On: October 26, 2007