could "block the burn" of
acid reflux, Dawndy Mercer Plank reports
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Regurgitation, a sore throat and frequent
swallowing are just some of the symptoms of acid reflux disease. Add
to that the most common, heartburn and chest pain, and you're
desperate for relief. But one procedure that may be just what the
One doctor visit could change Pamela Feuerstein's life. She has a
significant case of acid reflux.
"It's a burning in your chest," said Feuerstein. "Usually, it's
right here and I have a fullness that will not go away. And usually
if it lasts more than thirty minutes to an hour, I get significant
Doctors say if you have heartburn twice a week or more you probably
have acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or
GERD. Avoiding reflux means having to avoid certain foods.
"My favorite food is pizza, and I just cannot tolerate it anymore,"
commented Feuerstein. "I can't tolerate any alcohol, like going out
Dr. Marc Antonetti of riverside surgical group at Lexington medical
center says no one is immune to reflux problems.
"Reflux can happen from infants all the way up to senior citizens,"
said Antonetti. "It most commonly happens as people begin to age, as
people get over the age of forty, the symptoms worsen."
Pamela knows how to treat the symptoms -- she's a pharmacist.
"I take prescription medication," said Feuerstein. "I also take
over-the-counter as needed. And sometimes, it works. If I have a
really bad flare-up, nothing makes it go away. I just have to work
But nothing was working, so she's undergoing a new, cutting-edge,
incisionless surgery that should get rid of the problem for good.
It's called EsophyX TIF.
"This whole idea of incisionless surgery, this is really the next,
great leap forward in surgical technology," said Antonetti.
Dr. Antonetti inserts a tool through the patient's mouth to repair
the weakened valve so it will close properly, keeping the stomach
contents from moving up.
"We pull the stomach back down into the abdomen and we tighten up
that valve by placing sutures that basically wrap the top of the
stomach around the esophagus," said Antonetti.
No incisions, no scarring and a fast recovery. But did it work?
"It was for me, because I suffered with it every singe day," said
Feuerstein. "I took medication, prescription medication and it had
gotten to where that wasn't working and it worsened and I would have
to add medication and I was still miserable, so it has been worth
Recent studies on EsophyX TIF report 80 percent improvement in
quality of life and reduction or elimination of heartburn symptoms.
"I feel great," said Feuerstein. "It's made a huge difference. I'm
glad I did it."
Most patients go home the next day after EsophyX TIF and return to
normal activities within a few days. Most insurance plans do cover
this new procedure.