Living with chronic acid reflux requires patience, a restricted diet and lots of antacids. Many times, even that isn’t enough to deal with the problem.

I am pleased to announce that I along with Premier surgeon Dr. David J. Harrell are the first surgeons in East Tennessee to offer a new, incisionless surgical procedure that may improve chronic acid reflux, also known as also known as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), and the problems that accompany it, such as heartburn, belching, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, hoarseness or change in voice and regurgitation of food.

Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) is a revolutionary procedure that allows us to surgically repair a faulty valve – the cause of chronic acid reflux – without surgical incisions.

Acid reflux is caused when stomach acid or intestinal bile travels backwards from the stomach to the esophagus – the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The acid irritates the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms, such as belching, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, hoarseness or change in voice and regurgitation of food.

We are all born with a natural valve between the esophagus and the stomach that prevents stomach fluids from entering the esophagus. For patients with chronic acid reflux, this valve does not work properly. When typical treatment methods such as change of diet and medication fail to alleviate the symptoms, surgery may be required.

With TIF, surgery to reconstruct the faulty valve is performed without the need for incisions. While the patient is under anesthesia, the flexible EsophyX device is gently lowered through the mouth into the stomach and the device is used to create a tight sealing valve.

Because there are no incisions, recovery time is much quicker. Patients follow a liquid diet and soft foods for about two weeks, and most are able to resume normal activities within only a few days.

The procedure is covered by most insurance and Medicare. We are performing the TIF procedure at North Knoxville Medical Center.

If you’ve put off surgical treatment for chronic acid reflux because of concerns of invasive surgery and long recovery times, contact us or request an appointment online today to learn more about this new option.