REFLUX AND OTHER GASTROINTESTINAL PROCEDURES
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is caused by stomach acid spilling
up into the esophagus. This occurs if the valve at the bottom
of the esophagus (top of the stomach) opens at the wrong time
or simply fails to close. A burning pain, commonly called
heartburn, often, but not always accompanies GERD. Left untreated,
GERD can become a debilitating problem, resulting in scarring,
swallowing difficulty and even cancer.
is a hiatal hernia?
The junction between the esophagus and the stomach passes
through the diaphragm. This opening in the diaphragm is referred
to as the esophageal hiatus. When the attachments between
the diaphragm and esophagus become weak, the stomach can slide
up into the chest, causing a hiatal hernia. While some people
may experience no symptoms, in others, a hiatal hernia can
contribute to GERD.
serious can it be?
Bleeding ulcers in the esophagus and a narrowing of the esophagus
due to scarring are two of the more serious problems caused
by chronic reflux. The result may be difficulty swallowing
solid foods. Medical treatment for GERD includes avoidance
of foods and drugs that relax the lower esophageal muscles
and the administration of acid-reducing medications.
Since GERD is a mechanical problem, the methods listed above
can at best only minimize the symptoms. Patients who continue
to have symptoms despite medications, have extensive scarring,
or who have cell changes suspicious for malignancy are candidates
for surgery to repair the lower esophageal sphincter valve,
thereby preventing the spill of acid up into the esophagus.
If the patient's condition allows, the surgeons of North Valley
Surgical Associates recommend utilizing a minimally invasive
surgical technique, wherein the operation is done through
small incisions under the guidance of a tiny telescope and
are the advantages of minimally invasive surgery?
Since minimally invasive procedures do not require large incisions,
patients generally experience less pain. Hospital stays are
shortened to only a day or two. And, most patients are able
to return to regular activities in one week.
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only. If you have concerns about your health, consult
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