Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) acts as a one-way valve, enabling food to pass into the stomach. When the LES is not doing its job properly, stomach acid, enzymes and bile back up from the stomach into the esophagus. This produces the burning sensation that is the predominant symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Other symptoms may include coughing, hoarseness, morning sore throat, hypersalivation and frequent clearing of throat.
Continued exposure to stomach acids and other gastric juices causes irritation of the esophagus that can result in:
Surgeons at Baptist perform a minimally invasive procedure called the Nissen Fundoplication Laparoscopic Surgery as one option for treating GERD. The procedure repairs bulging stomach tissue in the upper abdomen (Hiatal Hernia). During the procedure, the surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach around the esophagus to increase the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) muscle pressure. This procedure eliminates reflux in 95% of patients.
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