GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and Fundoplication
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease, a disorder in which there is recurrent return of stomach contents back up into the esophagus, frequently causing heartburn, a symptom of irritation of the esophagus by stomach acid. This can lead to scarring and stricture of the esophagus, which can require stretching (dilating). 10% of patients with GERD develop Barrett’s esophagus which increases the risk of cancer of the esophagus. 80% of patients with GERD have a hiatal hernia, a breakdown in the integrity of the passageway of the esophagus through the diaphragm. Treatment is with “proton pump inhibitors” such as Nexium, Protonics, Prilosec, etc. If that fails surgical repair is possible and usually quite successful. GERD surgery is called fundoplication, a surgical technique that strengthens the barrier to acid reflux when the lower esophageal sphincter does not work normally.