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Stretta Therapy for Reflux and GERD

Refractory gastro-esophageal reflux disease, sometimes called GERD, can be annoying, painful, and disruptive to a patient’s quality of life. If you’ve experienced or been diagnosed with GERD, then you know how it works; acid levels (and sometimes excess air) build up in the stomach and inch their way into the lower portion of the esophagus, leading to unpleasant sensations like bloating, nausea, hiccups, and heartburn.

Sometimes a bout of acid reflux or heartburn can come and go with no further problems, but GERD symptoms can also reoccur again and again, causing patients to seek treatments like proton pump inhibitors (PPI), medications that work by controlling acid levels in the stomach.

But what happens if PPIs either don’t work or they aren’t the right choice for a specific person? What can you do if PPIs aren’t the best option for you, and you’re also not a great candidate for surgery?  In your case, it might be time to consider Stretta Therapy. Stretta is a minimally invasive, state-of-the-art, non-surgical procedure that can put the brakes on the pain and discomfort of GERD.

How does Stretta therapy work?

Stretta therapy involves an endoscope that slides down the esophagus and pauses at the junction where the esophagus opens into the stomach (the esophageal sphincter). Tiny probes, like needles, extend from the endoscope and touch the sensitive tissues and muscle of this area. Then the endoscope is removed and electrodes are sent down the esophagus to infuse the tissue with radio frequency energy waves (RF) that generate heat. The voltage delivered is not high enough to burn or damage the tissue, but it is enough to stimulate growth and turnover in the cells of this area.

This new growth “remodels” or strengthens the tissues around the junction, which gives them more integrity and resilience when reflux takes place.

Does it hurt? Is there a long recovery time?

The insertion of the endoscope, followed by the electrodes, followed by the mild heat-generating voltage, are uncomfortable enough to require moderate sedatives before the procedure is conducted, but general anesthesia is not usually required. From beginning to end, the procedure usually takes about one hour, and patients tend to recover and pick up their normal activities within the same day.

The results of one treatment last about four to ten years.

Who are the best candidates for Stretta?

Most often, your doctor will review your diagnosis and reflux history and try PPI medication first. But if PPIs aren’t the answer for you, or if your GERD is caused by something that PPIs can’t address (like a previous surgery), Stretta therapy may be the most effective and most practical option.

If you have questions about this innovative procedure, contact our clinic and ask our GI experts! You can also set up an appointment and visit our office for a consultation.


Tags: Stretta Therapy, GERD, acid reflux, acid reflux disease, acid reflux treatment, Stretta, GERD treatment, GERD therapy

Lincoln Hernandez , MD

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