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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Dr. Gharagozloo is one of the leading thoracic surgeons in the world treating GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Using an innovative surgical approach that only a handful of surgeons in the world perform, he regularly provides improved outcomes for his patients. 

Non-surgical therapies and minimally invasive, robotic-assisted solutions are helping people find relief from stomach and esophageal issues—with little pain and downtime. However, when over-the-counter antacids no longer provide relief, it may be time for a proper diagnosis and permanent solution. Your digestive issue may be the result of a hernia, that can lead to GERD, Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer.

With a hiatal hernia, acid from the stomach can “reflux,” or travel up into the esophagus. This can cause severe heartburn or regurgitation. Over time, these stomach acids can damage your esophageal tissue. Barrett’s esophagus is an advanced stage of this condition.

Most people suffering from GERD don’t develop Barrett’s esophagus. However, those who do are at an increased risk for developing esophagitis — difficulty swallowing or chest pain — as well as esophageal cancer. When GERD can no longer be managed by lifestyle changes and/or medications, surgery may the most effective treatment option for GERD and prevention for other esophageal issues.

Diagnosing GERD and Digestive Health Issues 

Early detection and managing the disease to help prevent serious problems from developing is important. There are a few main diagnostic techniques we use to best determine the condition or disease, such as:

  • Endoscopy is particularly useful for investigating digestive disorders related to GERD and getting a tissue sample. A thin, flexible tube outfitted with fiber optics and surgical tools is inserted into the throat. It helps determine if there is scarring from acid reflux, plus if benign or malignant cells are present.
  • Laparoscopy and thoracoscopy are also used as diagnostic tools. They are usually inserted into a small incision in the abdomen. Major advancements in the technology for these procedures now make it possible to perform both minor and complex surgeries using these methods.

Other digestive health diagnostic screening and treatment options may include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT or CAT scan
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Upper GI series (barium swallow)

Treating Digestive Health Issues and GERD

Once you are examined and a proper diagnosis is made, your best treatment options are fully explained and discussed with you. The best treatment for you will depend on many factors. It can take into account such things as your age, physical condition, lifestyle and overall health. The care team at Thoracic Surgery Program at the AdventHealth Global Robotics Institute at AdventHealth Celebration specializes in the following techniques to treat a variety of digestive disorders, specifically GERD.

Surgical Options to Treat GERD

Gastroesophageal Valvuloplasty Surgery

Robotic-assisted gastroesophageal valvuloplasty recreates the normal anti-reflux barrier valve between the stomach and esophagus. The groundbreaking procedure continues to show great promise for severe GERD sufferers. The surgery is recommended as an alternative to chronic, life-long medical therapy. It has also shown to lower the risk of side effects found with more-traditional GERD surgeries. As little as three weeks following surgery, many patients report little to no acid reflux symptoms.

The minimally invasive procedure is performed through small incisions in the abdomen. The surgery usually takes approximately two-to-three hours and most patients return home the next day.

AdventHealth Celebration is one of few hospitals in the country to perform robotic-assisted gastroesophageal valvuloplasty for GERD. Dr. Gharagozloo is one of the leading surgeons worldwide performing this technique. He has been recognized for his innovative surgical approach and the improved outcomes he achieves for his patients. 

To learn more or to schedule a consultation with our Oncology and Thoracic Surgery Program clinical care coordinator, call (407) 303-4877.