In our previous blog post about heartburn and acid reflux, we covered symptoms and causes of this widespread health issue. If changes to your diet and lifestyle don’t help to relieve the symptoms of GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, it may be time to talk with your doctor about treatment.
Fortunately, as treatments have become increasingly sophisticated, they’ve also become much easier on patients. This includes TIF, one of the specialized procedures performed at the Methodist Interventional Endoscopy Center of Excellence.
TIF, or transoral incisionless fundoplication, tightens the connection between the esophagus and stomach and prevents stomach acid from going up into the esophagus. Patients who undergo this minimally invasive procedure experience long-term relief from GERD symptoms and often eliminate the need for medications. If the esophagus was damaged by GERD, it can heal and chronic complications can be avoided.
Folds, instead of incisions
With TIF, there is no cutting through the skin or into the anatomy. Instead, the endoscopist performs the procedure using a specialized device attached to the end of a standard endoscope. With the patient under general anesthesia, he or she gently guides the device through the mouth and esophagus and into the stomach. The device then helps the endoscopist form tissue folds that tighten the connection between the top part of the stomach and the esophagus. This reconstructs the body’s natural tissue into an anti-reflux barrier, creating a new gastroesophageal valve.
The procedure is generally performed in less than two hours and it is effective immediately. Patients go home the same day or the day after and resume normal activities quickly. Many patients experience immediate relief and many no longer need anti-reflux medications.
TIF has received the endorsement of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). Its effects are durable out to six years, and studies have shown that as many as 90 percent of patients can be off all antacid medications six months after their procedure.
“With this procedure, patients generally have little discomfort, they recover quickly, and their satisfaction rates are high,” says Prashant Kedia, MD, Medical Director, Interventional Endoscopy, Methodist Interventional Endoscopy Center of Excellence. “Studies show that TIF does a better job of improving acid reflux than high-dose medication therapy. Ninety percent of patients will be off their medications in six months, and six years after the procedure patients still show improvement of their symptoms.”
Other advantages of TIF include:
- Short hospital stays
- Reduced patient discomfort
- Quicker recovery
- No visible scarring
About the Methodist Interventional Endoscopy Center of Excellence
The Center for Interventional Endoscopy at Methodist Dallas Medical Center is a regional leader in the minimally invasive treatment of biliary disease and other digestive disorders, performing routine as well as advanced procedures every day. As one of the largest centers in Texas, the physicians are trained on the newest endoscopic technologies in an evidence-based manner toward patient care. The center is part of the Methodist Digestive Institute, whose mission is to improve and save lives through transformative care, advanced education, and leading-edge research.