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New procedure at Noble treats reflux without surgery

Date: 5/23/2011

WESTFIELD — Tens of millions of Americans suffer with daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosions.

Until recently, these people faced either a lifetime of daily medications, and often incomplete resolution of their symptoms, or the risks of invasive surgery. Now they have a better option. The new Transoral Incisionless Fundop-lication procedure, or TIF, using the innovative EsophyX device is performed completely without incisions and is now available from Nathan Emerson MD, board certified general surgeon at Noble Hospital.

Emerson is the first specialist in the Greater Westfield area to be trained on the TIF procedure.

"The TIF procedure can significantly improve quality of life for our patients," Emerson said. "Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is an anatomical problem which needs an anatomical solution. Reflux medication like PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) can help relieve patients' heartburn symptoms but don't solve the underlying anatomical problems or prevent further disease progression. Even on PPIs many patients are still unable to eat the foods they want or have to sleep sitting up to reduce nighttime reflux.

"In addition recent studies have shown that long term use of PPIs can lead to inadequate absorption of minerals such as calcium and can result in bone fractures. After the TIF procedure, clinical trials show that most patients can eat and drink foods they avoided for many years. Reflux no longer impacts their life like it previously did," he continued.

The TIF procedure is based on established principles of surgical repair of the antireflux barrier, except that it is "surgery from within" performed transorally (through the mouth).

The procedure reduces hiatal hernia and creates a valve between the stomach and esophagus restoring the natural, physiological anatomy to prevent reflux. Because the procedure is incisionless, there is reduced pain, reduced recovery and no visible scar.

The TIF procedure represents the revolutionary next step in the evolution of surgery. Laparoscopy, a form of "minimally invasive surgery," typically requires three-to-five port holes and the same internal incisions and organ dissection as open surgery. TIF requires neither abdominal incisions nor internal dissection, making it a truly "minutely in-vasive" surgical procedure to effectively treat GERD. With millions of Americans suffering with daily symptoms of reflux and many not fully satisfied with their current treatment therapy, TIF offers an excellent alternative.

"Recent studies show that TIF can reduce patients' dependency on medications with 79 percent of patients remaining off their daily medications after two years and experiencing a dramatic improve-ment in their quality of life," Emerson said. "We are very excited to be able to offer our patients the same incredible benefits as more invasive procedures without incisions."

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