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Surgical Specialties

at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital

GERD/Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as reflux, is a common digestive disorder that occurs when the anti-reflux mechanism at the end of your esophagus does not work properly. This allows the contents of the stomach to go back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it. Characterized by a burning in the chest or throat known as heartburn, GERD/reflux disease can be caused by a number of conditions such as a hiatal hernia and by lifestyle choices such as smoking. Learn more about GERD, including causes and symptoms.

Chronic GERD can lead to other esophagus problems: inflammation, ulceration, scarring, stricture (narrowing) and precancerous changes (Barrett’s esophagus). Rarely, the changes in the esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer.

Board certified general and gastrointestinal surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital specialize in treating GERD/reflux disease. Our surgeons are experts in the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques, including Nissen fundoplication, Toupet fundoplication, the Linx procedure and transoral incisionless fundoplication.

Additional Information About GERD

Treatment for GERD/Reflux Disease

Treatment for GERD ranges from lifestyle changes to medications to surgery. The goal of treatment is to find the cause, so you can prevent it from recurring.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery should be considered for patients who:

  • Have not had medication success
  • Do not want to take chronic medication
  • Have symptoms attributable to a large hiatal hernia   
  • Have complications of GERD (stricture, Barrett's esophagus grade III or IV esophagitis) 
  • Have atypical symptoms (asthma, hoarseness, cough, chest pain, aspiration) and documented reflux

 

Minimally Invasive Surgery

  • Nissen fundoplication repairs the hiatal hernia and tightens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and helps to decrease acid from coming up from the stomach into the esophagus. Fundoplication is usually performed as a laparoscopic procedure. Although a Nissen fundoplication is the most common form of fundoplication, other types of fundoplication are also sometimes performed based on surgical assessment and recommendation.
  • Linx procedure is a minimally invasive operation that is indicated for a small percentage of patients with GERD and no hernia where a device is placed around the esophagus to prevent reflux. 
  • Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF), a transoral (through the mouth) procedure in which the EsophyX device is used to wrap around the esophagus and create a fold. This is then repeated several times to create a tight valve to prevent stomach contents from flowing back up into the esophagus.

BRIGHAM AND WOMEN’S FAULKNER HOSPITAL


Offering comprehensive medical, surgical and psychiatric care as well as complete emergency, ambulatory and diagnostic services to residents of southwest Boston and the surrounding suburbs.

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