OakLeaf Medical Network Healthy Viewpoints, Winter 2003
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Steven Immerman, MD

Permanent Relief, Finally
a Cure for Heartburn

By Steven Immerman, MD

Heartburn, which is also called Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), is a common condition. Patients with this problem experience burning pain behind the breastbone, in the neck and throat. Food may actually return from the stomach to the mouth- leaving a bitter taste. For some patients, reflux symptoms are present almost constantly, and are a major issue every day of their lives.

Until recently, the only treatment options for this problem were dietary restriction, frequent antacid medications, or major surgery.

However, because of recent technological advances in video imaging, the surgery that previously required a long, upper abdominal incision and up to a week in the hospital, can now be done laparoscopically through five small incisions. The recovery from this surgery is now much quicker and less painful most patients go home the same day, or the day after surgery.

The operation is called a Nissen Fundoplication. The surgeons at Evergreen Surgical have been performing this operation laparoscopically since 1996, and have had excellent results on a large series of patients. The surgery is successful in completely relieving heartburn symptoms without additional medications in over 85% of patients.

Almost any patient with severe reflux symptoms is a candidate for this operation. The pre-operative evaluation in patients with severe heartburn consists of making sure that the heartburn is actually from reflux, and not some other condition. Once that has been established, surgery can be quickly scheduled.

For more information, call Evergreen Surgical 715.832.1044, or go to http://www.EvergreenSurgical.com