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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as reflux, is a common digestive disorder that occurs when a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows the contents of the stomach to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it. Characterized by a burning in the chest or throat known as heartburn, GERD/reflux disease can be caused by a number of conditions such as hiatal hernia and by lifestyle choices such as smoking. Learn more about GERD, including causes and symptoms.
Chronic GERD can lead to other esophagus problems: inflammation, ulceration, scarring, stricture (narrowing) and precancerous changes (Barrett’s esophagus). Rarely, the changes in the esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer.
Board certified general and gastrointestinal surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) specialize in treating GERD/reflux disease. Our surgeons are experts in the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques, including Nissen fundoplication, Toupet fundoplication, the Linx procedure and transoral incisionless fundoplication.
General and gastrointestinal surgeons at BWH offer a range of procedures for diagnosing GERD:
Watch this video of an upper endoscopy (EGD) used to diagnose GERD/Reflux Disease.
Treatment for GERD ranges from lifestyle changes to medications to surgery. The goal of treatment is to find the cause, so you can prevent it from recurring.
Surgery should be considered for patients who:
Minimally Invasive Surgery
You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination to evaluate if you have GERD/reflux disease and what course of treatment is needed. Careful monitoring and the involvement of an experienced general and gastrointestinal surgeon are important to the successful outcome for patients with GERD/reflux disease.
If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for pre-operative information and tests.
The day of surgery, you will be taken care of in the operating room by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in surgery for patients with GERD. After surgery, you will go to the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.
Learn more about your hospital stay and returning home.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care by collaborating with colleagues who have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating GERD/reflux disease and esophageal conditions. In addition, patients have full access to BWH’s world-renowned academic medical community with its diverse specialists and state-of-the-art facilities.
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