At the Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA), our board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeons provide expert treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a digestive disorder that occurs when contents of the stomach reflux into the esophagus and cause problems, such as chest pain, heartburn, or regurgitation.
GERD Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to asking about a patient’s symptoms and medical history, our physicians may recommend additional diagnostic tests to better understand your disease process and your anatomy. These tests may include an EGD, esophageal manometry, 24-hour pH probe, swallow study or a CT scan. Most patients will not need all of the above tests and our team will determine which tests are necessary for you and provide a full explanation of what to expect with each test.
Treatment and management of GERD can include lifestyle changes, medications and possibly surgery. Your primary care or gastroenterologist may first recommend treating GERD with lifestyle changes, including losing weight, not overeating, quitting smoking and waiting a few hours after eating to lie down or go to bed. Another way to lessen or prevent GERD symptoms is to avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, and to not eat citrus fruits, chocolate, fried foods or spicy foods.
If lifestyle changes are ineffective in treating GERD, your physicians may recommend or prescribe medications, which can include over-the-counter antacids or prescription H-2 blocker and proton pump inhibitors. These medications do not stop the reflux from happening, but they can help manage the symptoms. Some patients on medication may still experience symptoms, and our physicians work with each patient to identify and prescribe the best medication and dose for your specific symptoms.
If lifestyle and medication interventions are not successful in reducing or eliminating your symptoms, or if you don’t want to be on long-term medication, a surgical option may be right for you. The most common surgical treatments include:
- Hiatal Hernia Repair - These hernias are often found in patients with GERD
- Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, generally a partial or full fundoplication
- LINX® Reflux Management Procedure, an innovative, minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure to implant a small, quarter-sized device around the lower esophagus to prevent stomach acid from entering your esophagus.
Depending on the type of surgery performed to treat GERD, the recovery process may last from a couple days to a few weeks before a patient can return to their normal routine. During the recovery process, patients are advised to be very mindful of their diet and there are often dietary restrictions during the recovery process as your body heals from surgery. Our team of doctors will be by your side during your recovery to help ensure a good outcome after your procedure.