Thursday, March 21, 2013

Saying bye-bye to GERD, the laparoscopic way

Patients afflicted with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) usually find themselves in a state of discomfort. In GERD, gastric acids usually reflux or regurgitate from the gastric chambers as a result of cardiac sphincter incompetence, resulting to a harsh, burning sensation felt in the epigastric area. Sometimes, the sensation can become so distressing that patients are willing to resort to surgical interventions just so they can be relieved of the excruciating pain.

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And for most of them, laparoscopic surgery is the way to go.

Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery (also known as laparoscopic nissen fundoplication) is a procedure that involves “reinforcing the ‘valve’ between the esophagus and the stomach by wrapping the upper portion of the stomach around the lowest portion of the esophagus.” The procedure, often compared to “a bun wrapping around a hotdog,” enhances the competence of cardiac sphincter and ensures that stomach acids will not be able to escape its way into the esophagus.

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The surgeon performs the entire operation inside the already inflated abdomen. Surgeons enter the abdomen using cannulas which are then inserted via 0.25 to 0.5-inch incisions. The cannula contains a tiny video camera at its tip, thus giving the surgeon a great view of the site which will be operated on.

While this procedure has become standard in the surgical treatment of GERD, not everyone is eligible to go through the procedure. Some factors, including obesity, history of abdominal surgery causing dense scar tissue, and bleeding problems, may have surgeons considering the ‘open’ procedure instead.

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GERD patients do not need to endure the excruciating pains of heartburn. This website provides information on how they can undergo laparoscopic nissen fundoplication under the Satori World Medical Global Health Network.

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