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Acid Reflux

What is it? How can I get help?

Acid reflux is a chronic disease where stomach acid flows into the esophagus and causes irritation. A very common symptom is heartburn.

A more severe form of acid reflux is called GERD (gastroesophageal relux disease), where people experience heartburn twice or more a week, plus other symptoms like chronic coughing, difficulty sleeping, and reguritation.

Common Symptoms

Acid Reflux vs
GERD

Acid reflux and GERD are related but don’t always mean the same thing.

ACID RELUX

Acid reflux is when food and acid come back up through your esophagus - and it's pretty unpleasant, though not uncommon. early 20% of Americans suffer from acid reflux.

If you suffer only occasionally from acid reflux, lifestyle changes may help. Losing excess weight, eating smaller meals, avoiding trigger foods (fried/fatty foods, chocolate, etc) and wearing looser clothing can all help.

GERD

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a more serious version of acid reflux and if you're having heartburn more than twice a week, you may have GERD.

What happens with GERD is that the closure - the sphincter - where your esophagus and stomach meet is weak, and it shouldn't be. A strong sphincter is what helps keep food and acid in the stomach.

Common symptoms of GERD are a persistent dry cough, bad breath, chest pain, regurgitation, trouble swallowing and chronic heartburn.

What causes GERD?

Since GERD is a chronic condition, our doctors like to look at a wide variety of things that could be causing GERD. Some may include:

-being overweight
-having a hiatal hernia
-smoking
-consuming alcohol
-taking certain medications
-being pregnant

How can I get help?

Let's talk treatment

There are several treatment options available.

LINX®

A minimally-invasive procedure. It’s essentially a magnetic sphincter – about the size of a nickel - that’s tightened around the lower part of the esophagus to help restore the body’s natural barrier to reflux.

Nissen Fundoplication

A Nissen fundoplication utilizes the top part of the stomach to reinforce the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). The stomach is brought around the esophagus and secured to itself to create a 360 degree wrap. This increases the pressure at the end of the esophagus, keeping stomach contents where they belong.

Toupet fundoplication

A Toupet is similar to a Nissen, but the wrap only goes around ¾ of the stomach. This is the best option for patients that have some difficulty swallowing or are older than 50. All of these repairs are performed with minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopically). By using small incisions, we are able to minimize pain and help you to recover much faster.

Hiatal Hernia

The hiatus is the opening in the diaphragm that allows the esophagus to pass through it, just before it connects to the stomach. If the hiatus is too wide, the top of the stomach can slide above the diaphragm into the chest. This renders the valve called the lower esophageal sphincter ineffective and stomach contents can freely flow backwards up into the esophagus. A hiatal hernia repair involves repositioning the stomach back into position in the abdomen, and reducing the size of the hiatus with several permanent sutures. Hiatal hernias can be large, containing much of the stomach. In these cases, absorbable mesh is used to reinforce the repair and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Enter the
LINX® System

LINX®  isn't medication, it's a minimally-invasive procedure.

It’s essentially a magnetic sphincter – about the size of a nickel - that’s tightened around the lower part of the esophagus to help restore the body’s natural barrier to reflux.

Since it’s a minimally-invasive procedure, most patients can go home the same day or the day after surgery, and many can resume a normal diet immediately. Plus, studies have shown after LINX®, 99% of patients no longer experienced regurgitation and over 85% were free of heartburn and no longer needing daily reflux medication.

How can I get help?

Meet Dr. Matthew Bettendorf

Dr. Bettendorf is a general surgeon at Memorial Medical Center and he performs these procedures, including the minimally-invasive LINX® procedure.

"The LINX® device has been a great addition to the treatment of GERD,” says Dr. Bettendorf. “When we place the LINX® device, we see immediate results. Reflux is gone in the recovery room.”

This is a same-day procedure that's typically done in less than an hour. Studies show patients typically go home within 24 hours, and most return to normal activities in just a couple of days. Plus, most can resume a normal diet.

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