Many individuals suffering from reflux, or heartburn, may choose lifestyle management through diet or medication as their primary treatment. For others, medication is not enough. Trident Health System offers diagnostic testing and treatment for acid reflux.
What is reflux?
Acid reflux, or heartburn, happens as a result of a failed lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is located between the esophagus and stomach. When working correctly, the LES stops acid from moving up from the stomach into the esophagus. A weak LES allows acid to flow upward, causing heartburn. The causes of acid reflux may include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Hiatal hernia
- Eating a heavy meal and then lying down
- Consuming irritating foods or beverages like citrus fruits, tomatoes, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods, fatty foods or carbonated drinks
Symptoms of reflux vary, and may include:
- Burning in the throat or in the chest
- Difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia
- Chronic sore throat or cough
- Chest discomfort, specifically after eating or lying down
- Regurgitation of stomach contents into throat or mouth
The Trident Healthy System team at the Coastal Carolina Bariatric and Surgical Center works with you to determine the best treatment option.
Reflux surgical options
Fundoplication, or anti-reflux surgery, is often used to reduce acid reflux symptoms. A fundoplication involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the esophagus and sewing it into place. The sewn area creates a narrow passage that serves as an anti-reflux valve. There are multiple types of fundoplication procedures:
- Nissen fundoplication
- Dor and Toupet fundoplications
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Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF)
Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) has the same result as a traditional fundoplication, but without making incisions. The surgeon enters the stomach through the mouth and brings the stomach up around the esophagus to create the anti-reflux valve.
LINX improves symptoms of reflux through the usage of an implantable device. A small ring of magnets is wrapped around the lower esophagus, creating a new lower esophageal sphincter. The ring expands when swallowing food and drink. LINX does not require a permanent change to the anatomy.
Bariatric surgery (weight-loss surgery) is an appropriate reflux treatment for some patients. Weight loss can reduce reflux symptoms.