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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Millions of people suffer from what they describe as heartburn. Actually, heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is where stomach acids are thrown back up into the patient's esophagus, causing a painful burning sensation between the ribs or lower neck.

Most patients experience heartburn after they eat. This is because at the end of the esophagus there is a small ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES allows food to pass into the stomach. When it functions properly, the LES closes after swallowing to keep stomach acids from backing up into the esophagus.

When it is malfunctioning, this acid "refluxes" and burns the lower esophagus. Over time, this area becomes inflamed, irritated and even damaged. While some people naturally have a weakened sphincter; others develop GERD when the muscle loosens. Symptoms can often become more pronounced after eating high-fat and spicy foods or consuming excessive alcohol.

Hiatal Hernia Repair

While some patients can control GERDs with lifestyle changes, such as dietary and exercise modifications, others need surgical repair to ensure that the esophagus is not damaged. Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery repairs and reinforces the "valve" between the stomach and esophagus.

The surgeon, literally wraps a part of the stomach around the lower esophagus. Using a small camera the surgeon can see images on a screen to guide this wrapping process to ensure that the esophagus has strong support

Most patients get complete or greatly improved relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of GERD after surgery.

Learn What to Expect from Hernia Repair Surgery

WakeMed has board-certified general surgeons on staff who perform minimally invasive, corrective procedures. Find the WakeMed general surgeon by calling WakeMed Doctor Choice at 919-350-8900.