Mountainside Offers Surgical Solutions for Acid Reflux

January 4, 2012 04:40 AM

The incidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, also known as acid reflux or heartburn, is rising both locally and nationally. In fact, according to the U.S. National Ambulatory Care Survey, more than 22% of all primary care office visits are related to GERD and that number is steadily increasing due to the graying of the population and the rising incidence of obesity.  In keeping with its commitment to address emerging health concerns, Mountainside Hospital is expanding its GERD public awareness efforts and surgical treatment program.

“About 45% of all adults experience mild to moderate cases of GERD from time to time. However, for those who have serious, chronic episodes, it’s a very painful and debilitating condition that can lead to more serious health concerns. When GERD can’t be adequately controlled with medications and lifestyle changes, there are minimally invasive procedures that relieve discomfort and enhance quality-of-life,” said Dr. Nirav Rana, a board-certified surgeon who has successfully treated many GERD patients.

In fact, beginning on January 10, 2012, Dr. Nirav Rana will host free informational seminars at Mountainside.  The talks will provide GERD sufferers with comprehensive information about nissen fundoplication, a surgical procedure that’s an effective and proven treatment for GERD. Although fundoplication surgery has been available for many years, it’s now performed using laparoscopic surgical techniques that significantly improve patient outcomes and reduce recovery times, discomfort and the risk of complications.
GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, a valve that connects the stomach and the esophagus, malfunctions and allows acid to escape the stomach and make its way up into the esophagus. The most common symptoms of GERD are heartburn, chest pain, persistent sore throat, hoarseness, chronic cough, asthma, regurgitation, a sour taste and a “lump in the throat” sensation.  The constant presence of refluxed acid in the esophagus can lead to more serious conditions such as erosion of the esophagus and may even be a precursor to esophageal cancer.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects approximately 18 million Americans and about $10 billion is spent annually on antacids. In most cases, GERD can be adequately managed with medications and lifestyle adjustments such as food restrictions and sleep modifications. However, about one million people have serious, chronic GERD and severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments are referred for surgical intervention.
“Patients who seek surgical relief have typically exhausted all other alternatives under the direction of their primary care physician, a gastroenterologist or ear, nose and throat specialist,” said Dr. Rana. “Some have resorted to using excessive quantities of over-the-counter antacids and are exceeding recommended doses in an effort to ease their chronic discomfort.  Many are frustrated by the lifestyle and dietary restrictions associated with the management of GERD. Sleep deprivation is also a common complaint since lying down can exacerbate acid reflux.”

“After fundoplication surgery, most patients are relieved to go about their day-to-day lives without worrying about any restrictions or impediments due to GERD,” he said, “Studies have shown that more than 90% of patients remain asymptomatic 10 years after their surgeries.” For further information or registration for an upcoming GERD seminar, call 1-888-973-4MSH (4674)or visit



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