If you suffer from chronic acid reflux, chances are you’ve been down the list of treatment options to alleviate your reflux symptoms. From lifestyle changes like diet and exercise updates to over-the-counter medications like antacids, most options for patients with GERD merely treat the symptoms of the disease rather than the root cause. Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication surgery—also referred to as TIF or Esophyx—for reflux is different. Let’s discuss the ins and outs of TIF surgery for acid reflux and GERD treatment.
What is TIF surgery?
Transoral incisionless fundoplication, or TIF surgery, is performed entirely through the mouth without the need for external incisions through the skin, and offers patients a method of anatomically correcting their weak sphincter. The EsophyX/TIF procedure reinforces the gastroesophageal junction by folding the upper portion of the stomach around the lower portion of the esophagus and securing it in place by special fasteners. TIF is a wonderful alternative to more invasive surgeries for GERD, providing less pain and faster recovery time than laparoscopic surgeries.
What happens during TIF surgery?
Your reflux specialist will insert an endoscope to look inside the body. The endoscope will be fed through a special TIF device called the EsophyX, which allows your doctor to fix the weakened natural barrier that is meant to keep stomach acid from flowing into the esophagus by wrapping the upper area of the stomach around the damaged lower portion of the esophagus and fastening it. The fasteners remain in place to ensure the valve constructed during the surgery is secure. Usually your body will heal around the fasteners and they do not need to be removed.
Benefits of TIF Surgery
TIF surgery aims to achieve the same goals as those provided by traditional procedures like lap nissen fundoplication, but is less invasive and has fewer side effects. Using the endoscope to perform a TIF surgery removes the need to cut any stomach tissue in order to arrive at the lower esophageal sphincter and repair it.
TIF vs Nissen Fundoplication vs LINX
Doctors can use TIF in place of another more common surgical procedure called Nissen fundoplication. With Nissen fundoplication, doctors make an incision in the upper stomach and then wrap the top of the stomach around the esophagus to recreate a valve. TIF surgery allows patients to avoid the incision as well as the side effects associated with the more invasive Nissen fundoplication surgery. LINX is another non-invasive surgical treatment for GERD, however since it is so new there is not as much research that supports its long-term efficiency as there is for the tried and true TIF procedure.
Call the Tampa Bay Reflux Center to schedule a consultation with a reflux surgeon to discuss your options.