More than 20 million Americans suffer with daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux, such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosions. Until recently, patients faced either a lifetime of daily medications, and often incomplete resolution of their symptoms, or the necessity of invasive surgery to alleviate their symptoms. Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is now offering an alternative. It is called the TIF ® procedure or Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication and is performed without laparoscopy or open abdominal incisions.
“The TIF procedure can significantly improve the quality of life for our patients who suffer from reflux disease,” said Rosario Ligresti, M.D., FASGE, chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Hackensack University Medical Center. “With the TIF procedure, the anti-reflux barrier is repaired through the mouth with an endoscope, the same equipment used to diagnose GERD. This is a first for the Division of Gastroenterology, being able to offer natural-orifice surgery in a truly minimally-invasive and cost-effective way.”
The TIF procedure reduces a patient’s hiatal hernia and rebuilds the valve between the stomach and esophagus, restoring the natural, physiological anatomy to prevent GERD. Because the procedure is completely incisionless, there is reduced pain, reduced recovery and no visible scar. In addition, the procedure is performed in an outpatient setting, often with only a brief, overnight stay in the hospital.
“Reflux medications including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can help relieve patients’ heartburn symptoms, but do not solve the underlying anatomical problems or prevent further disease progression,” said Fahad Khan, M.D., attending physician, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Hackensack University Medical Center. “Recent studies of the TIF procedure have shown that it can reduce patients’ dependency on medications with 75% of patients completely off their daily medications after three years and experiencing a dramatic improvement in their quality of life.”
The Division of Gastroenterology and the Department of Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center have partnered to create the Hackensack Center for Esophageal Disease. The Center’s mission is to comprehensively treat patients with all forms of esophageal disease, including reflux. Patients are treated for diseases ranging from atypical reflux to Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-malignant condition utilizing a multidisciplinary team and evidenced-based treatments.
“Hackensack University Medical Center is pleased to offer long term reflux patients this minimally invasive treatment option,” said Martin S. Karpeh, M.D., chair, Department of Surgery, Hackensack University Medical Center. “We look forward to utilizing this innovative technology to improve patient outcomes.”